For The People

South Devons: Hardy, Fertile And Adapted To Africa


KIMBERLEY – Brothers Barrie and Gielie van Zyl, South Devon stud breeders from Windsorton in the Northern Cape, are also commercial cattle producers. “This is the beef cattle breed to make money with from the veld. It’s a supremely fertile, easy-calving breed that excels in the most taxing conditions of South Africa, from the Northern Cape, where we farm, to the Eastern Cape and the Free State.” So says Barrie van Zyl, owner of Johstep South Devon stud and a commercial beef herd near Windsorton in the Northern Cape. He adds that since he and his brother Gielie have included South Devons in their business, profits have increased markedly.

South Devon cattle were first imported into South Africa in 1897, and the South Devon Cattle Breeders’ Society of SA was founded in Pietermaritzburg in 1914. The first animals that arrived here were typical of the British breed at that stage: a large, dual-purpose animal. It has since been developed in South Africa into a hardy, medium-framed breed that excels under extensive African farming conditions. “The South Devon is known for the fact that all the breed’s positive attributes, including its even temperament, are carried over in cross-breeding, adding singular value to any commercial herd,” Barrie explains. Gielie and Barrie believe in continual, consistent evaluation and improvement, and conduct Phase D growth tests on the farm. With commercial stockmen as their main clients, they are committed to providing the best possible genetics for the commercial market.

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