About Gelbvieh

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History and Origin

The origin of the Gelbvieh (pronounced gelp-fee, German meaning “yellow cow”) breed can be traced back to the 16th century Germany where they were developed in the region known as Franconia. The Gelbvieh was bred from Celtic and Germanic red to red-brown breeds and in 1872 an official breeding policy was laid down. In 1897 the Nürnberg Breeders Association for “Gelbes Frakenvieh” was established. In accordance with the breeding policy, the breeders succeeded in breeding animals of a uniform yellow-brown colour, with excellent performance as working animals and good growth. However, another requirement was added, namely milk production. Hence the dual purpose traits of the breed. In 1952 a new breeding police was formulated for Gelbvieh by means of a programme which provided for maximum use of the benefits of artificial insemination. This system was constantly refined, not only in respect of record keeping, but also in terms of planned matings.

Because of the early scientific approach, the Gelbvieh grew in popularity and the breed is currently found in the USA, South America, Australia, England, Canada, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and other neighbouring countries South Africa interest followed after visits to Germany by cattle farmers andanimal scientists in the sixties and early seventies. The Bavarian Government donated a bull and semen to the Department of Agriculture in 1974. This breeding material formed the basis of an official breeding project to research the merit of the breed. The National Beef Cattle Performance Testing Scheme evaluated Gelbvieh animals on a broad basis in Phases A, B, C and D of the Scheme, as well as through Veldbull clubs. Studies on adaptability and tick resistance were also done. Not only were excellent animals bred during the project phase, but the Gelbvieh proved its excellent production capabilities under South African Conditions.

Semen from Gelbvieh bulls was first imported to South Africa in 1974. To gain status as an A.I. Sire in Germany, the German bulls must first excel in a battery of performance and progeny tests. Over 70% of the German calf crop is A.I. Sired; therefore, the breed is backed by a strong performance heritage.

The Gelbvieh Cattle Breeders Society of South Africa was eventually founded in Ermelo (Mpumalanga Province) in September 1988. At this stage the society had five members. Membership has since grown with a dramatic increase in registered animals. The Society has a scientific approach to breed improvement and performance testing is therefore compulsory to all members while visual appraisal is a prerequisite for the registration of animals.

Die oorsprong van Gelbvieh kan teruggevoer word tot die vroeë 19de eeu waar hulle in Duitsland hoofsaaklik in die streek bekend as Franconia ontwikkel is. Die Gelbvieh is geteel uit Keltiese en Germaanse rooi tot rooibruin lokale rasse met ‘n amptelike teelbeleid wat reeds in 1872 bepaal is. Die Nürnburg Telersvereniging vir “Gelbes Frakenvieh” is in 1897 gestig. Semen van Gelbvieh bulle is in 1974 vir die eerste keer na Suid Afrika ingevoer. Om die status as ‘n K.I. bul in Duitsland te verwerf moet bulle eers top prestasie lewer in ‘n reeks prestasie en nageslagtoetse. In Duitsland word meer as 70% van die kalwers d.m.v. K.I. geteel. Die ras word dus gerugsteun deur ‘n baie sterk prestasiegetoetste erfenis. Die Gelbvieh Beestelers Genootskap van Suid Afrika is in 1988 gestig. Die Genootskap volg ‘n wetenskaplike benadering tot rasverbetering en prestasietoetsing is dus ‘n vereiste vir alle lede terwyl ‘n verdere visuele beoordeling ‘n voorvereiste is vir registrasie van diere.