Although the SA Braford Breeders Association came into being on 30 May 1997, some members already started a well structured breeding program roundabout 1975 by crossbreeding registered Hereford with Brahman cattle. The origin of the SA Braford as a new cattle breed is already in line with the international trend which combines the fine characteristics of two or more breeds into a new or synthetic breed which will be more effective in most circumstances. The members had used the Hereford as the base breed for the formation of the SA Braford because of at least the following reasons:
- Speaking of quantity, Hereford was one of the most important and biggest beefcattle breeds in the world, both in extensive and feeding lot situations.
- Herefords are world wide recognised as being high in fertility as well as in meat quality.
- Combine it with the high motherly qualities of the Brahman and the result is an animal with exceptional characteristics.
From all the biological performance tests the Agricultural Research Council done as part of Phase C bull tests, the fodder turnover relation (VTR) were clearly identified as the most important performance measurement – it contains a direct economic advantage. The year 2002/03 (the last year SA Braford was part of the ARC’s performance measurement scheme; since then we are part of the Breed plan system) the average fodder turnover (Phase C) was 5,41 : 1 as against an average of 5,97 : 1 for the other 21 breeds.
In the same year the ratio weaner calf mass : cow mass at weaning was 49,7% for the SA Braford against the 44,5% for the other 21 breeds. For the past few years SA Braford bulls partake in the East Free State Field Bulls Test under extensive field conditions. During 2003 and 2004 the SA Braford was the winner in this test and the breed still performs exceptionally well. From this the breed performs in both intensive and extensive conditions. The SA Braford is mainly known for its early to medium maturity. In other words, heifers reach puberty at an earlier age, while oxen, on grass or if fed, could be rounded off quicker and with less grain. This characteristic combined with the particular VTR, is especially important in times of grain shortages or expensive grain such as at present where animals are to be rounded off on the minimum grain. This renders huge financial advantages for all feeders.
The SA Braford Breeders Association is the seventh member of the World Braford Confederation consisting of Australia, America, Argentine, Uruguay, Brazil and Paraguay. Semen is easy obtainable especially from Australia, the country where the Braford originated 50 years ago. Further more, in South America the Braford is the foreign breed which has gained popularity the quickest. From this it can be deduced that the Braford adjusted widely in climate conditions varying from semi-desert to subtropical.