In 1998, seventeen Bonsmara breeders from the Vryburg area enrolled 51 bulls for a test on the veld. From the outset it became evident that the veld test did not care who the breeder was – if the bull did not have the required hardiness and adaptability traits, it simply did not make the grade. The number of breeders that enrolled bulls into these veld tests declined dramatically – something that is understandable: Bulls that otherwise would possibly have made it to the auction, had to be culled.
Four die-hards however had the conviction to push through to the bitter end! They were the founders of the Proveld Bonsmara Group. During its approximately 18 years existence, other breeders who shared the founder members vision, joined the group and it now consists of ten stud breeders. Thirteen commercial breeders are also affiliated as commercial members. Presently about 250 Bonsmara bulls per year are tested at Proveld, where approximately 35% are culled because they don’t make the grade in the tough test. Those that actually pass the test are offered at the Proveld auctions which take place on the second Wednesday of February, the second Wednessday of June, and the second-last Wednesday of October every year.
Whereas at the first Proveld veld bull auction in 1999 12 bulls were sold, by the October 2007 auction Proveld had 50 bulls on offer, and achieved a 100% sales figure.
A few factors that differentiate the Proveld Bull.
- Each of the stud breeders select bulls that show promise for inclusion in the veld bull test. Selected bulls are thus tested against one another.
- The bulls remain together from weaning until the day of the auction.
- Bulls are tested under the same conditions that the female animals are required to perform on the veld.
- Bulls receive no feed during the test and need to prove themselves on the veld with only a lick supplement.
- The bulls are prepared for the auction on the veld and as such are fit and ready for work on the day of the auction.
- No fat deposits take place in the neck of the scrotum.
- The large size of the group in which the bulls are tested against one another ensures that the results carry far more weight than those of tests where, for example, only ten bulls are tested against each other.
- Sons of a large variety of sires are tested against one another.
- Bulls that performed the best in the veld tests are circulated amongst the Proveld members. Buyers get the opportunity to acquire these “Flagship” bulls and of their progeny and thereby embed the genes of adaptability and hardiness in their own herds.
- Approximately 90 bulls are culled yearly because they do not attain the strict standards set by Proveld. Only those that remain receive the Proveld mark of hardiness and adaptability – a cloverleaf brand.
Therefore, when it then comes to the buying of a bull, buy a bull that can care for itself on the veld and ………… PROFIT OFF THE VELD!