The Brahman Perspective:
Mr Abel Smith from S Kidman and Co was quoted in the 17 April 2008 edition of Stock and Land on the issue of an ideal breed for Australia. He said: “we need a slick- coated and adaptable animal that can also sell well into the live export trade” and added that Indonesian markets, when given a choice, prefer light coloured, smooth skinned, tropically adapted cattle.
At the Meat Profit Day, held by MLA and others, at Charters Towers in September 2010 the main concern of many presenters were the present lack of profitability in the industry. Various contributing factors were discussed but concern was also expressed about the poor (and worsening!) fertility of females in the dry tropics. Terry McCosker, director of Resource Consulting Services, advocated the need for 400Kg cows. He pointed out that the existing 500Kg cows are too heavy and that this is contributing to the problem. Terry is of the opinion that this is the direct result of selecting bigger bulls.
Brahman cattle in the USA and South Africa are not slaughtered for the meat market due to their unacceptably tough meat. They are crossbred with other breeds and firm quality control measures are put in place before the meat is marketed. The Brahman cattle industry is a low inset slow turnover industry that rely on marketing heavy units for big prices. Early slaughtering is not an option since they are still too skinny and long-legged for the market.
The disadvantage of the Nguni on first sight might appear to be less dollars per full-grown carcass but this is well and truly made up for in turn-over (high fertility, ease of calving and marketable at a younger age), more beef per ha and price for quality meat. Nguni and Nguni-Crossbreed cattle create a big input and big turnover industry - resulting in big profits - a simple general commercial principle sustained by low inset costs.
The Australian market is now also moving towards differentiating the quality of meat on the shelf, even marketing specific brands with associated price tags. These prices are already filtering back to the producer.
Wider Market Perspective
The Nguni has the rare combination of very tender meat combined with superior disease resistance in a unit with pure and stable genetics. This renders the Nguni the ideal brand to cross-breed with Northern brands like the Brahman and Droughtmaster, targeting the improvement of meat quality without compromising disease resistance. Equally in Southern breeds like the Angus and Hereford the Nguni provides the ideal brand to crossbreed with, targeting an increase in hardiness and disease resistance without compromising the quality of meat.
In real terms the Nguni (Bos taurus africanus) supply a solution for stocking the Central and Northern regions of Australia with tough economical units carrying supreme quality beef!
Prof Phillip Morgan described the Nguni Cow as the most profitable cow in the world!
(Book: Breeding The Worlds Most Profitable Beef Cattle by Prof. Philip Morgan)