Bonsmara was bred at the Mara and Messina Research stations between 1937 to 1963 by scientists under the watchful eye of Prof Jan Bonsma. Bonsmara soon became world-renowned as the only beef cattle breed in the world which was created through a well documented crossbreeding programme, with the aid of objectively recorded performance data. Visual evaluation according to norms for functional efficiency, has been implemented from the start and is still strictly applied to today.
The name ‘Bonsmara’ was derived by combining Prof Bonsma’s surname (Bonsma) and Mara research station (Mara), where the first crossbred calves were born. Prof Bonsma and his colleagues constantly exercised crossbreed experiments in about 20 commercial herds in different parts of South Africa, to finally come across the best performing crossbreed sample, 5/8 Afrikaner and 3/8 Exotic Hereford/Shorthorn.