Cattle Industry’s Annual Sales Highlights – 51st National Sale4 min read

Image by Biandri Joubert

The Zimbabwe Herd Book’s annual National Sale is always an unmissable event for cattlemen all over the country. This year, the 51st sale, was as exciting as ever. The buzz was palpable and the air of expectation was contagious. The day did not disappoint.

Image by Biandri Joubert

Whether you’re there to check out prices and watch the bidding or there to participate and bid, it remains a fixture on the calendar for all interested in Zimbabwe’s cattle sector.
This is, for sellers, the chance to showcase their animals and indeed their entire enterprise. For the breed societies, it affords them the opportunity to collectively advertise their breed, and for buyers, it is an opportunity to buy some of the best animals available. Participating breeders also use the day as a means of marketing and advertising: The animals must look good, but must also have the performance figures to back them up.

Image by Biandri Joubert

The aim of the sale is not to compare and contrast the different breeds. Each has its own merits and its own place in the Zimbabwean cattle industry and would-be buyers are advised to do their due diligence and make sure they know what they want from a herd sire. Notes provided for each lot give performance guidelines and a background to the animal.They should not to be judged on appearance alone, but combined with their genetic potential. “Information is education,” one prominent Tuli breeder notes. Prior to the sale day, stringent inspections are carried out countrywide by judges and only the best make the cut.

Brahmans, ever popular here in Zimbabwe were the breed that attracted many of the highest prices and also provided the largest number of entries on sale. Breeders from countrywide come to sell and Matabeleland’s Pilossof family (respected Brahman breeders with decades’ worth of experience) sold a bull that fetched the day’s highest price of $172,000. Bidding for this animal was fierce and in the end it came down to a bidding war between two buyers, as the price climbed and climbed. Incidentally, Brahman breeders constitute the largest number of registered breeders here, followed by the Borans.

Image by Biandri Joubert

Open auctions dictate prices and if a reserve price is not met, the unsold animal returns home. Factors that may have affected prices were the current drought and with its resultant lack of grazing and also a lack of liquidity in the current environment.

ZHB chairman, John Crawford, who presided over his first National Sale as chairman, said “While Stud breeders still face many challenges, their passion, commitment and sound breeding skills are evident in the outstanding animals that have been entered on the sale.”
ZHB remains committed to keeping up to date with worldwide trends in stud breeding. The Tuli Cattle Society in particular continues to champion data collection among their members and some of the animals entered onto the sale have estimated breeding values which are the best measure of their genetic potential for a breeding trait that has been evaluated.”

Sales prices
Brahman bulls 63 sold. Average $33,952. Top price $172,000
Brahman heifers 83 sold. Average price $14,018. Top price $22,000
Beefmaster bulls 9 sold. $32,333. Top price $48,000
Beefmaster heifers 12 sold. Average price $18,166. Top price $21,500
Boran bulls 7 sold. Average price $27,071. Top price $32,000
Boran heifers 4 sold. Average price $28,000. Top price $31,000
Bonsmara bulls 3 sold. Average price $20,333. Top price $24,000
Simmental bulls 7 sold. Average price $35,142. Top price $41,000
Tuli bulls 8 sold. Average price $25,375. Top price $34,000
Tuli heifers 6 sold. Average price $12,500. Top price $12,500
Boer goats 3 sold. Average price $8,000. Top price $8,500.

By Julie Havercroft