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Australian Farm Weekly Article - 12 July 2012

IF an Australian beef producer was to look at Nguni cattle the only thing they would probably appreciate would be their speckled hide.

But while the breed may have an odd appearance and not meet many of the requirements of the modern day beef breeds, this indigenous breed to Africa has a special place in the South African beef industry.

The breed has evolved over centuries to be in harmony with the environment and this was one of the many traits which attracted Cedric and Rene Stoch, who farm at Malmesbury, north of Cape Town in the Western Cape, to the breed in 1970 when they were breeding Angus.

Cedric said the build of the Nguni and their softness on the environment, made the pastures last longer. "They walk on their pasterns, which are soft so they do very little damage to the soils and the environment, which makes them ideal,” he said.

The breed is classified as Sanga cattle and has been described more as a respiratory type with conformation more like a dairy, than a beef animal. Historians seem to agree Sanga cattle evolved about 1600BC in present day Ethiopia and Somalia from crosses between Zebu and humpless Hermitic long horn cattle. Recent research indicates the Sanga’s origin could be entirely African.

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cedric stoch nguni cattle breeder south africa