Genetics for Climate Change

2.5 kg less

Food used by Kalant than his fellow bull to grow at the same rate of 2.3 kg p day.

This makes Kalant one of the top bulls for feed efficiency, our answer to climate change.


He offers a rare combination of genes (Gonasty, Profeet, Zamuto and Kalhei). Semen is available.

These 10 young bulls passed the Phase C test at the Glen test station in 2016 as part of the BGP 

(Beef Genomic Project).  The best of the crop came back to our farm and were made available to prospective buyers. One, Klein Kalant P, is now our main seedstock sire.


The economic benefits of feed efficiency is illustrated by the above graph and the following table. It compares two of our bulls at the test, Jaco and Klein Kalant. Both notched up the same gain in mass of 2.3 kg p day, but Jaco consumed 2.5 kg p day more feed than Klein Kalant. Jaco had a FCR (Feed Conversion Ratio) of 6.01 and a Net Feed Intake (NFI)(or Residual Feed Intake RFI) of 1.876. Kalant on the other hand had ratios of 4.97 and -0.401 respectively. (More info for a table on NFI)

NFI should help us to survive our ever increasing severe climate in future.  Provisional research indicates that NFI will also demonstrate a similar effect on veld grazing. Kalant maintains his condition even on harsh Winter veld. This is due to positive EBV's for Rib (=0.1) and Rump Fat (0.2) plus Eye Muscle Area (0.8). These attributes make him an excellent candidate for helping our seedstock to adopt to severe climate change without losing their fertility. We are, therefore, using Kalant extensively in our herd with the aim to increase the herd's feed efficiency (with a heritability factor of 0.3). This new direction in our seedstock production should also benefit our clients in future.


We have now  two sons of Kalant on offer, which should be able to produce calves with superior feed efficiency. Another eight Kalant bulls would be ready for the market in 2021. They will increase the profitability and sustainability of any cattle operation.

Kalant is a polled bull with a very promising future as a seedstock mainstay of our herd. A Simmentaler technical advisor, adjudged Kalant a eight out of nine. According to him Kalant has great length of body, masculinity, a well formed head, and sturdy hind quarters. He is a curve bender with high 400 day growth (in the top 5%), but with lower mature weight (only in the top 20%). His economic indexes (SBI and SPI) are the top 5% of the SA 2018 crop. Kalant has also the distinction of having EBV's in the top 15% of the SA crop regarding EMA (eye muscle area), Rib Fat as well as RBY (Retail Beef Yield). (See Kalant's pedigree and EBV's)

Apart from these favourable genes, Kalant inherited stayability or longevity from his grand father, Gonasty. Gonasty sired his last calf naturally at the age of 16 years. Furthermore, Kalant's dams in his pedigree had one important trait in common - stayability or longevity. Ten out of the thirteen dams in his pedigree had six or more calves over their respective careers. More info is attached.

Kalant's main contribution to our seedstock is the increase of the feed efficiency of his calves as his NFI of -0.401 is one of the top values of the SA crop. He should also increase their calving ease, growth  and body condition . In total the economic indexes (SBI and SPI) of his calves should be in the top 5%, similar to those of their dams. (See table for more details)

The BGP (Beef Genomic Project) gave us the power to do a quantum leap into the future. Econotech Simmentaler joined the BGP and are reaping the first benefits through the superior NVI of Kalant.

The Beef Genomic Project (BGP) is jointly run by the ARC and various cattle breeders associations. It aims to identify genomic markers for selected breeding traits. These genomic markers would increase the accuracy of EPDs on younger, non-proven animals. The increase in EPD accuracies allows breeders to identify the best genetics earlier in an animal's life without the extreme cost of progeny testing. Information gleaned from a single DNA sample may be as informative as the first calf crop of a bull or the lifetime production record of a cow. This is especially of importance regarding traits that are difficult and costly to test such as meat quality and feed conversion ratios/residual feed intake(RFI).


Basically the RFI measures feed efficiency as the difference between an animal's actual feed intake and its expected feed intake based on its size and growth. The smaller an animal's RFI the more efficient is that animal to produce a particular mass gain.

Furthermore, the BGP assist us to share bulls with other leading breeders. This enables our seed stock operation to become more comparable with the rest of the industry by having inter herd comparisons of the offspring of the BGP bulls.