Boran cattle shine in tough Zimbabwean conditions


Zimbabwe's often harsh agricultural landscape needs a breed of cattle that can not only withstand but perform in some of our toughest cattle-rearing conditions. Enter the Boran breed. Originally hailing from Kenya, Boran cattle have proven to be not only adaptable to tough African conditions but also exceptionally productive in Zimbabwean conditions.

The Boran breed has been a purebred African indigenous Zebu for the last 1,300 years. It is made up of 64% bos Indicus, 24%  bos Taurus European, and 12% bos Taurus African and its genetic uniqueness allows for successful crossbreeding, enhancing herd vigour.

When it comes to the survival of the fittest, Boran genes have not been diluted and there is no unnatural selection for a high growth rate. Several inherent traits make this breed suited and indeed, desirable, for tough African conditions:

Boran have twice the number of sweat glands - and larger ones - to counteract the effects of heat. Folds of skin also mean a greater surface area to dissipate heat whilst well-pigmented skin absorbs harmful UV rays and a coat reflects the sun’s glare.

Disease resistance is another desirable breed trait of the Boran. It has been found in Kenya that the Boran are more resistant than other breeds to the tick-borne disease East Coast fever. (ECF).

A highly motile, sensitive skin means the animal can twitch vigorously and this gets rid of insects whilst an active tail swats away flies.

A high level of sebum is another inherent breed characteristic. This waxy skin secretion is also a deterrent to insects. The Boran’s coat hair is very fine and ticks find it difficult to attach and cannot hide in the short hair. Boran skin itself is thick.

Furthermore, this breed has demonstrated over the millennia, an ability to withstand drought and food shortages and to recover quickly from these. There has been no pampering as it has been subjected to harsh and arid conditions over the years. Boran can handle lower-quality roughage and maintain a high body condition; a good body condition results in higher conception rates and disease resistance.

Walking great distances for water has meant there are very few remaining genetic faults with their legs and feet. Coupled with this is the fact that Boran cattle are not just hardy; they are also efficient in their water usage. Given the frequent water scarcity in many parts of Zimbabwe, this trait is invaluable.

Boran cows are highly fertile and remain so at an old age. Longevity of the cattle means more profit in your pocket as a producer.

They live long lives under harsh conditions and have a docile temperament as they are used to herding and confinement, overnight kraaling and limited grazing.

The Boran breed’s low maintenance requirements and efficient resource usage go a long way towards sustainable farming practices making financial sense for every Zimbabwean cattleman or woman to include the breed in their herd.

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  1. Innocent Honye on June 18, 2024 at 10:26 pm

    How much is a 6 months viran

  2. Sidwell Musengezi on June 18, 2024 at 11:58 pm

    I want to join this group as I’m in the process to get land and start on Boran farming. Can you tell me how much the Boran semen cost for 1 or 2 straws?

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