The Zimbabwe Herd Book (ZHB)
Pedigree livestock – also known as stud animals – are the seed stock of the livestock industry and is the basis of stud breeding.
The Zimbabwe Herd Book was established by an Act of Parliament in 1980 to oversee the registration of pedigree livestock.
Stud breeding involves the controlled mating of livestock and detailed birth notifications of progeny with parents are recorded with the Herd Book. In addition, stud breeders record the fertility, survival and growth performance.
Livestock production depends on three pillars: genetics, health and husbandry. Stud Breeding – genetics – is the cornerstone of commercial livestock production. A strong commercial industry is dependent on a healthy and vibrant stud industry to offer stud/breeding stock that meet requirements in a range of production environments and market scenarios.
At its annual National Sales, all animals on offer have undergone veterinary examination and inspection so that the livestock industry is offered a wide range of top quality genetics.
Stud breeding is a long-term passion where breeders strive to breed the ‘best’ animal. Breeders apply modern breeding technologies to carefully select animals to be parents of the next generation and in so doing, improve the genetic merit of future generations.
Breeders also select parent material from outside the country in the form of live imports, semen and embryos. Stud breeding also requires the meticulous recording of parentage (pedigree) as well as specific performance data that measures reproduction, survival and growth.
These performance figures, together with the parentage information, are used to select the best animals to be parents of the next generation. Genetic improvement is therefore passed on from generation to generation and from the stud herd to the commercial herd.
ZHB has implemented BreedPlan, the leading performance evaluation software from Australia. The industry can now avail itself of the latest technologies that provide both breeders and commercial producers with accurate genetic assessment of animals that are selected for breeding purposes.
A wide range of genetic material is also available for commercial producers who want to select the best breeds and breed combinations to meet their particular production environments.
It is more economical to select the right breed for a particular production environment than adapt the environment to meet the requirements of the breed.