The WOODVIEW herd was established in 1964 and is now run by the 3rd generation of the Angus Family. WOODVIEW is one of the oldest Angus herds in South Africa. Wagyu and Merino studs have been added to the operation in recent years. These cattle and sheep have been selected for their economic traits and are of the best genetics available in the world.
In the Beginning
The WOODVIEW Angus herd started in 1964 when Llewellyn (Senior) and his son Llewell Angus bought two Black Angus bulls and registered Angus cows from the Grenfeld herd of Humphrey James so that they could breed their own bulls to use on their Hereford commercial herd. Within a few years they were selling Angus bulls to local farmers and the stud kept growing to where we presently run 350 Angus females. The commercial herd is mostly of Angus blood and numbers 500 females. Through the years black cattle were purchased from Lady Usher, Humphrey James, Duncan Black from Zimbabwe, Wally Sharratt, Samie Campher, Keir Hall and the Barnards from Clocolan. With the Red Angus becoming popular, cows were purchased from Wessel Wolmarans, David de Villiers, Charles Pope and the entire Elslie herd was purchased from Hannes Muller in 1995.
The use of Performance Testing
Brian Angus attended Glen Agriculture College before spending two years in the USA as an Agricultural Exchange Student at the University of Minnesota. On his return in 1982 he began farming with his father Llewell and his grandfather Llewellyn. During his stay in the United States he worked as an intern for Jorgensen Angus in South Dakota who had already been doing performance testing for 20 years, and were the pioneers in this field. As a result of this exposure to performance testing in the USA, the WOODVIEW herd has been performance tested since Brian's return to the farm in 1982. "We do not show cattle; we believe that one cannot performance test cattle that have been fed for shows (or their progeny for that matter), and compare them with those that have not been fed". To compare these fed animals skews the EBV's and the progeny of the fed cattle will ratio higher for the rest of their lives.
We at WOODVIEW have found many advantages of Performance Testing, the most important being a fixed calving season of 65 days.
Management is made far easier because of a single contemporary group. Calves are injected once, weighed and dosed once and the calves are the same age come sale day and are easier to manage. We shortened our breeding season so as to put pressure on the heifers to calve at two years of age. This has resulted in a very fertile herd. The WOODVIEW Angus herd has won many awards for fertility, being in the Top Ten herds in the Free State for many years (over all breeds). We have won the BEST ELITE COW AWARD for fertility in the breed on 2 occasions. A highlight for the operation was Brian winning the prestigious "BREEDPLAN /LANDBOUWEEKBLAD STUD BREEDER OF THE YEAR" award in 2003.
A female production sale is held during April every year, with females finding new homes throughout Southern Africa. Our bull sale is held on the 1st Saturday of August every year. Many of the top breeders in the country purchase their herd sires at our production sales.
Brian has had the opportunity to serve on the council of SA Angus Society for 21 years and served two terms as President. Brian has also served two terms on the Board of the SA Studbook association.
The Cow Herds
The Black cow herd is based on progeny from QAS Traveler, DHD Traveler 6807, Rito 2100, Pine Drive Big Sky, Hoff Valedictorian, Basin Max 602C, TC Stockman 365, RR Scotch Cap 9440, EXT, SITZ Alliance, Future Direction and BT Right Time 24J. The most current females are from Mytty in Focus, SAV Traveler 004, SAV Net Worth 4200, KMK Alliance 187, SAV Wall Street, Mequatling Payday, Providence, Pioneer and Role Model.
The Red herd is more diverse featuring genetics from Leachman Robust, Leachman Monument, BJR Hoss-800, Bieber Dominator, Mooreland Emulous, Leachman Kingdom, Leachman King Rob, Glacier Marias, Cheyenne, Cherokee Canyon, Red Spread, Mission Statement, Major League, Red Fine Line Mulberry 26p, Shoco Data, Laramie, Crowsfoot Ole's Oscar and Boxed Beef.
Fertility and Selection
The most important economic trait in beef cattle is fertility (or a calf per cow per year) and our heifers calve at two years of age. We maintain that that there is no other breed that does this as well as Angus cattle. If you add the Angus cow's mothering ability and the bonus of a superior carcass, Angus cattle are unbeatable in most environments.
Corrective mating is practiced and we keep improving maternal traits with the aid of EBV's (Estimated Breeding Values). Bulls are utilized as tools for corrective mating. Each female is looked at individually to determine her weakness and the correct bulls are used to correct her weakness. If a cow has a poor udder we use semen from a bull that sires good udders. If a cow sires calves with a high birth mass we correct it with a low birth weight bull, etc. Information gathered on bulls is critically important. This is done by regular visits overseas to see progeny of the top AI. (Artificial Insemination) sires and by exchanging bull information with breeders overseas. Being a Representative for ABS genetics give me an insight into the bulls that other breeders don't have.
The ANGUS and WAGYU breeds have the genetics to radically improve the tenderness and taste of beef. We at WOODVIEW have identified and used superior carcass sires. We firmly believe that there is a niche market for high quality marbled beef in South Africa and we select our AI bulls only after carefully checking their carcass EBV's (Estimated Breeding Value).
The WOODVIEW herd was part of a group of breeders that pioneered the use of real time ultrasound scanning of live animals in South Africa. We are, as yet, not being paid a premium for our superior Angus carcasses, but will be ideally positioned when the market pays a premium. We are presently LOADING OUR HERDS with superior carcass genetics. While on the Angus council Brian started the Certified Angus Beef Program in 1998 and saw the project through to where today all Angus breeders in South Africa benefit from our relationship with the Angus Beef sold by the Pick n Pay Retail Group.
Bull Selection in the USA
On our visits overseas we physically see the progeny of the popular AI bulls. These progeny are carefully scrutinized and then bulls are selected to do corrective mating in our herds. Once we know the strong points of a bull you can match the bulls to your cows. Most of the popular sires in South Africa are also heavily used in the USA and Australia. Conditions in South Africa and the USA are different, mainly due to rainfall and the snow. Cattle bred for our South African customers must be able to adapt to long periods of drought and must still be able to reproduce. We select medium framed, thick cattle that are suited to most areas in Southern Africa.
Use of AI & Embryo Transfer
Artificial Insemination, embryo transfer and synchronisation are utilized to enhance genetic progress. The AI. bulls bred to first calf heifers are selected for low birth weights, high milk and carcass. Some growth is sacrificed by selecting for low birth weight, but we put more emphasis on high milk EBV's on these bulls to compensate. We also pay special attention to teat and udder quality. Our trips to herds in the USA enable us to identify the correct sires to use. The top 5% of our cows are flushed every year and the embryos transferred. This enables us to maximize our best genetics.