To my great disappointment, my parents decided to sell the dairy cattle in 1995. Little did they know at the time that it was the right decision. BKB van Wyk did the auction and it was a huge success. To offer me some consolation, my dad told me that I could help decide with which breed of beef cattle we were to continue. We all agreed that it had to be red cattle and decided on the Bonsmara. The decision was largely made due to the fact that my father studied under Prof Jan Bonsma, who made a big impression on him at the time.
We bought 160 commercial Bonsmara cows that were previously registered, but whose stud status had expired. From the onset we kept records concerning pregnancies, calve birth weight, dates etc.
My father passed away in 1997. I was still busy with my agricultural studies at the University of the Free State. It was his dream to upgrade the herd to stud. My mother and I decided to go ahead with the registration after his death. Early in 1998 we started with the process of choosing a herd name, registration and first acceptance. Mr Hennie Snyman managed our base inspection and we decided also to cull all the six-point animals. Mr Snyman recommended that the cattle be incorporated as Appendix A animals. We registered 130 females.
The SYFERFONTEIN Bonsmara stud was registered in 1998 and Arthur de Villiers Jnr. was appointed as our herd mentor. We bought our first stud bull from Dr Wesson van Rensburg from Robco Bonsmaras. Later on we bought another bull from Wesson and also from Arcadia and UP George Bonsmaras.
2017 Auction Video
We sold three bulls at an average price of R9 250. We were extremely proud and happy. Over the next seven years we sold our bulls at the Jonkersdam Auction with the Highveld Bonsmara Group.
In 2003 Arthur de Villiers Snr of Stormfontein Bonsmaras joined the Syferfontein herd in a joint venture. With much grace of our Heavenly Farther and a lot of dedication, our Syferfontein herd grew in numbers and prominence.
I was very fortunate to have Arthur as a friend and mentor in my life. Arthur and I drove thousands of kilometers to meet breeders and to get to know them, to attend auctions and to do inspections.
In 2007 we decided to break away from the group auction and to hold our own auction on Syferfontein Farm. That was the year that also met my wife, Dorothy. She got her first taste of an auction at Syferfontein. I have to admit that, for us to get everything neat, tidy and in place, in order to get this first auction underway, was the most stressful of all the auctions thus far. Many dynamic breeders gave their good advice selflessly, and helped me to establish the Syferfontein Bonsmara Auction. Mike Killassy joined the Syferfontein, BKB van Wyk team as auctioneer, and he is still the auctioneer to this day.
Purposefully, focused on tomorrow!
I believe in continuous selection in our herd. I try to spend as much time as possible with the animals during which I make mental notes. Cows should be fertile with good constitution and good milk. Calves must have good conformation and must grow well. Calves should wean as close as possible to 50 % of the mother’s mass and by that time the mother should already be pregnant again.
Each year around weaning time we take the weaning masses and calculate the calve’s weaning index. Pregnancy examinations are done on the cows to see whether they were in calve again.
We sold our first “expensive” bull – ADV 03-034 for R180 000 on the Highveld Group auction to Christo Schoeman
Sold ADV05-105 for R105 000 to Gert Koch.
Sold SYF07-042 for R140,000 to Booger Bonsmaras.
Sold ADV07-154 for R320,000 to The Rosco Family.
Sold SYF09-021 for R400,000 to Tensmar Bonsmaras.
Sold SYF 07-036 for R900,000 to Tensmar Bonsmaras.
Sold SYF09-010 directly for R350,000 to Booger Bonsmaras.
I passed my Senior Inspectors Examination.
Sold SYF10-237 directly for R400,000 to Komatie Vallei Bonsmaras.
Sold ADV10-321 for R325,000 to Hassim Bonsmaras.
We fetched the two highest prices for female animals on the National Auction.
The Syferfontein herd was awarded the ARC’s National Beef Cattle Improvement Herd of the Year winner in Mpumalanga. The herd had already been finalists in the ARC Regional Competition for many consecutive years.
Achieved highest prize at national sale for cow and calf and pregnant heifer.
2017 Syferfontein Auction
GPS Coordinates: 26°42'35.2"S, 29°01'36.4"E or -26.7097750°, 029.0267833°