Cottondale Game Ranch is presently celebrating an early but huge Christmas gift with the arrival of the exceptional young son of the Western Zambian sable bull Piet(53,5/8’) namely Duke ( 46 “ at 3 years 8 months ) bought at Mr Piet Warren’s Sable Park auction 24 September 2015.

But first let’s take a bow to the phenomenal achievement by our stalwart bull Sam (these days affectionately referred to by Cottondale staff as “The Legend”) who singlehandedly produced 9 of the mothers and 4 of the grand mothers of the 43 outstanding bulls  that were on offer at Mr Warren’s record breaking auction including of course Thometelo (51 ½”) that was one of the most sought after bulls in South Africa . And all this achieved under the expert scrutinizing eye of Mr Warren himself !!!

We salute Sam and his daughters with this outstanding achievement and quality stamp of approval as some of the best and most respected breeding material in South Africa.

We were therefore very fortunate to become owners of the bull Duke , a young giant , bred from the Gemsbok/Stamper genetic pool combined with the bull Piet.

This excellent genetic makeup as manifested in Duke will now be scientifically integrated and introduced on carefully selected cows ;  daughters of Sam as well as granddaughters of Sam born to our well known Western Zambian bull Assegai (47 2/8”)  brother to other exceptional bulls namely Charlie ; Tsunami ; Black Jack and Zambezi.

The supreme genetic composition derived from Sam with added value from Assegai and then matched with Duke should surely make it one of the most diverse and sought after  combinations brought together in recent times .

Game and Hunt – July Edition 2015

Informed article re Buffalo Breeding Bulls Cottondale Game Ranch, prepared by well-know and respected Buffalo expert and breeder from Swellendam, Mr Janus Kotze.

Combining Legends to breed a Legacy

As a buffalo breeder one dreams about breeding that absolute perfect buffalo bull. In most cases the impressive and well known bulls in the country was not bred with a plan, but with pure luck of the right combination – A breeder buy a bull he like’s and a beautiful offspring bull is produced from a lucky combination from an average female that the breeder also bought some time ago! This does not happen that often at all. At this stage I would estimate about 1 – 3% of the buffalo bulls that was bred by breeder’s falls in the category of a super bull.

Legend One – Proven Bulls – Bulls that great offspring…Proven!!!!!!
Some breeders are really lucky that they coincidentally or with some planning towards it, buy the right bull that just produces a really high hit rate of great offspring. There are a couple off bulls that I have come across that produces a much higher rate than the 1 – 3% of hopefully super bulls from average females. The interesting thing is that there are almost no bulls that produces top females consistently from any female the bull combines with. These type of bulls must have an amazing female line locked up in their genetic makeup that they manage to produce an excellent heifer from a below average cow.
I have found that most of the bulls in breeding systems breed young bulls with similar phenotypical characteristics that the breeding bull posses and that a breeding cow will breed heifers with even more phenotypical similarities than the cow. In my opinion the phenotypical heritability is very strong in the same sex line – sire towards bull and dam towards heifer. So to find that bull that posses the genetic make up that has the breeding skills to produce top heifers from any type female is very rare and special.

Legend Two – Bulls form a great genetic background – Pedigree bulls with a much higher probability to breed a super bull.
In the last 3 – 5 year’s the trend seems to be that most breeders pay a lot of money on a great 45’’ bull to upgrade their herd. Very little thought is put in to the family line the bull is from, who the sire or dam is and what other special stock that bloodline has produced. Irrespective of anything else they will just buy the bull purely on looks and hope for the best. That is a step in the right direction, but at a cost and a bit of a gamble.
Bulls with pedigree and a great historic family line should fetch a lot more in the market than what they currently do, because the probability of breeding a super bull is so much higher than 1 – 3%. We are starting to see this from the old school breeders.
A tip from the leading Texas Longhorn breeder to me was:  If you start to intensively breed a species for horn length – breed with pedigree (family line) above greater horn length bulls without pedigree. The end goal should be to breed greater horn length from greater pedigree family lines. This will ensure a much higher probability of success because you select successful combinations that is proven and work on each other.

Combining the Legends
There are some amazing buffalo bulls in this country, but there is no perfect bull. As a breeder I tried to balance a combination of diverse genetic bloodlines and groups to combine strong properties of one bull to shortfalls of another. In my opinion many of the high priced bulls still lack something – body size, testosterone, temperament, boss, horn – thickness, shape and horn length (not horn width)!!!
Meet Mopani – a bull that has both properties of a legendary proven and genetic bull.
Mopani is the epiphany of the famous buffalo saying  – “you owe me money look”. For those who has had the pleasure to meet this bull would know he is a testosterone bomb with absolutely no respect for anything made by human or human life. He is a proven bull who breeds great young bulls. What makes him special is the fact that he is one of the handful of bulls that has proven to breed exceptional females from any cow and with that he breeds a great percentage of more than 68% heifers.
Mopani’s bloodline is pure Kruger genetic originating from the top Kruger stock, North from the Shingwedzi river, selected by Dr Douw Grobler and moved to selective breeders. These Kruger Bloodlines has been proven to produce the best female genetics in my opinion and a couple of 40” cows was used in these projects and produced from them. The highest Kruger auction prices was reached by these Kruger groups.

Meet Klein Rooi – a bull from the best pedigree and most famous family group in the country.
Klein Rooi is a tall and long bull with a big carcass that still has to fill out. He has long and elegant curly horns and massive tip to tip (in the SCI – total horn length) of more than 100’’. There are less than 10 bulls in the country that I know of with a tip to tip of 100”. In my opinion the tip to tip is the true horn length of a buffalo rather than the Rowland Ward. The true horn length is the way we measure our Sable and Roan, otherwise we must measure them as buffalo with a straight line from the base to the tip  –  that would not make sense??? Then we will try to breed out Sable like Gemsbok as we are trying to breed our buffalo like Texas Longhorns?

Another attribute is his longevity in body and horn growth. At the age of 5,5 years his horns measured:    RW – 44”; Tip to Tip 94’’ and SCI 123’’. At the age of 7,5 (2014) his RW is 48’’; Tip to tip 102’’ and SCI 131’’.The scary thing is at almost 8 years his boss is still soft and his horns and body is still growing. The average bull’s horns stop growing between 5 and 6,5 years. To sill grow at 8 years, similar to Tyson, is amazing. This for me is a sign of a lower testosterone bull maturing late.
Klein Rooi was produced from the Madikwe bloodline – the best male and female bloodline, in my opinion. His father is the late Madikwe bull Rooi who was captured from the same group and area, called the Tlou Dam group, in Madikwe as the famous Tyson, Maximus and Caesar to name a few. The Madikwe bloodline started +/- 20 years ago and is a combination of pure Addo buffalo and imported East Afican type buffalo from Different Zoo’s.

Combining The Legends – Mopani and Klein Rooi    
As a breeder you get a gut feel that something will work. This is the breeding plan that makes my gut go wild: Combining the positive attributes of Mopani’s stunning daughters with Klein Rooi.
Mopani’s positive phenotypical properties  – Masculine body, high testosterone, Stocky – short on the legs, block face, open thick horns with lots of volume, and all this carried over to his heifers.
Klein Rooi’s positive phenotypical properties – Big carcass (height and length), long legs, really long horns, curley horn shape, longevity in horn growth and show off temperament.
Combining all the positive phenotypical properties and the genetic heritability of these 2 bulls are as close to the perfect buffalo in my opinion.
This is why Cottondale bought Klein Rooi and why I invested in several heifers of Mopani to walk with Klein Rooi. Klein Rooi is currently walking with 25 heifers.
Only time will tell what they will produce. Watch this space!!!!

Artikel deur Dr Dewald Keet ten opsigte van Cottondale Game Ranch buffels

Geregistreer by die Suid Afrikaanse Veterinêre Raad as ‘n Spesialis in Wild-veeartsenykunde. Hy het vir 24 jaar in die Nasionale Krugerwildtuin as Hoofstaatsveearts diens gedoen. Hy is nog steeds in die NKW woonagtig maar praktiseer die afgelope 4 jaar as private wild Spesialis-veearts vanaf Phalaborwa

Die belang van seleksie en navorsing in die aankoop en teel van buffels

Die eindresultaat is dat hierdie verse vroeg suksesvol bevrug word en dat daar ‘n ongekompliseerde kalwing kan plaasvind. Hierdie eienskap het ‘n baie sterk oorerflikeid.

Cottondale Game Ranch selekteer vir vroulike, dog groot, vrugbare buffel koeie met horinglengtes langer as 30”. ‘n Groot swaar koei gee ‘n speenkalf vers met ‘n betekenisvolle hoër gewig. Die bul Mopani (rw 46” sci 116”) word op hulle gebruik

Die eindresultaat is pragtige verse wat na spening by die bul “Klein Rooi” (rw 48” sci 131”) geplaas word en op ouderdom 30 maande met behulp van ultrasoniese skandering normaalweg dragtig bevestig word. Verder word ‘n interkalfperiode van minder as 13 maande gehandhaaf.

Gemiddelde horinglengte van verse gebore in 2011 en gemeet 2014 is 28.87” met ‘n Wim Wibbelink caliper. Beste: 30.5”.
Gemiddelde horinglengte van verse gebore in 2012 en gemeet 2014 is 25.5”. Beste: 28.5”.

Standaarde beskryf deur Du Toit in Botma & Van Rooyen (Intensive Wildlife Production in Southern Africa, 2005) vermeld die volgende: Ouderdom met eerste paring: 3.5 tot 4 jaar, interkalfperiode: 15 to 20 maande.

Buffels op Cottondale Game Ranch geteel, het dus hierdie standaarde aansienlik verhoog en is hul strewe dragtigheid op ‘n vroeë ouderdom, uitsonderlike interkalwingsperiode en bogemiddelde horinglengtes”.

Nuutste navorsing (Van Hooft et al 2014) bewys verder dat daar wel buffelbulle is met ‘n genetiese vermoë om meer verse of bulle te teel afhangende of dit ‘n droë of nat periode is. Die tendens is in ‘n genetiese studie van ‘n vrylewende populasie (KNP) identifiseer waar daar tydens natter periodes meer bulle gebore word.

Die uniekheid hiervan is egter die feit dat dit twee verskillende genotipe-groepe buffelbulle was wat suksevol geteel het – ‘n nat periode groep en ‘n droë periode groep. Hierdie bevinding impliseer dat waar daar waar slegs een bul saam met ‘n groep koeie gedurende aaneenlopende seisoene gebruik word betekenisvolle meer verse of bulle gebore kan word ongeag nat of droë periodes. Die Cottondale buffelteelbul Mopanie het sedert 2011, verskalf persentasie vasn 68% verwek. Hy het sy genetiese oorsprong uit die Noordelike Krugerwildtuin gehad. Verder vermeld die artikel dat Noordelike Krugerwildtuin buffels geneties minder nadelige gene vir swakker liggaamskondisie het. Suidelike NKW buffels het meer van die nadelige gene vir swakker liggaamskondisie en dit word gedeeltelik toegeskryf aan die lang voorkoms van beestuberkulose onder hierdie subpopulasie.

Cottondale buffels het dus die volgende maatstawwe bereik of verbeter!;

Dragtig op ‘n vroeë ouderdom, uitsonderlike interkalwingsperiode, bogemiddelde horinglengtes en ‘n geneigdheid om meer verskalwers te gooi


  1. Using Heritability for Genetic Improvement. Bennet Cassell, Extension Dairy Scientist, Genetics and Management, Virginia Tech
  2. Positive Selection of Deleterious Alleles through Interaction with a Sex-Ratio Suppressor Gene in African Buffalo: A Plausible New Mechanism for a High Frequency Anomaly
    Pim van Hooft1,2*, Ben J. Greyling2,3, Wayne M. Getz4,5, Paul D. van Helden6, Bas J. Zwaan7,Armanda D. S. Bastos2
  3. Factors affecting the sex ratio in dairy cattle in New Zealand. Z. Z. XU, D. L. JOHNSON AND L. J. BURTON Livestock Improvement Corporation, Private Bag 3016, Hamilton, New Zealand
  4. Genetic evaluation of the ratio of calf weaning weight to cow weight M. D. MacNeil4 ARS, USDA, Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory, Miles City, MT 5930
  5. Linear and threshold analysis of direct and maternal genetic effects for secondary sex ratio in Iranian buffaloes Navid Ghavi Hossein-Zadeh Journal of Applied Genetics (2014) 55:365–372
  6. The African Savanna buffalo. Du Toit J.G in Intensive Wildlife Production in southern Africa 2005. J du P. Botma & N van Rooyen. Van Schaik publishers