Sandstone's breeding herd of Afrikaner cattle has a 100% calving rate this year
We maintain a small breeding herd of 9 cows and 7 heifers which are used to produce young oxen and additional breeding stock for our traditional animal drawn heritage programme.
For security reasons the breeding herd is kept at Dick and Angela Kerslake's farm near Val in the Standerton district. Dick is a large farmer with substantial livestock interests and has nurtured this small herd of Afrikaners for many years with great success. Young oxen are removed to the farm to join the older oxen and eventually enter training. All the cows calved this year and in fact one had twins so we are blessed with good continuity with lots of young animals coming through the system.
Photo by Patrick Polo
Sandstone Heritage Trust - News
HTN 117 - Sandstone's herd of Afrikaander Oxen, a vital part of all programmes
3rd August 2006
Sandstone Estates maintains a herd of Afrikaner oxen. They work around the farm and they are a vital part of all programmes involving visitors and tourists. They straddle heritage and the modern farming operation. In terms of heritage they are the forerunners to the oldest of our vintage tractors. In fact, they were the back bone of South African agricultural from probably the 1700's until the early 1900's, which is quite an achievement.
Heritage - Rail - News
Rare Breeds7th December 2007
Amidst all the steam commotion, repairs, rescues and excitement we tend to forget another very important part of the Sandstone Heritage Trust's activities, namely rare breeds.
Long before there were traction engines or railways there were oxen that provided the motive power for transport and agriculture for hundreds of years. These beasts were the mainstay of the war effort during the Anglo Boer War in 1899 to 1902. As one drives around South Africa one notices less and less of these majestic oxen and so the Sandstone Heritage Trust maintains a breeding herd of registered Afrikaner cattle, as well as a team of 16 trained oxen.
Due to our proximity to the Lesotho border and the high incidents of stock theft it was decided recently to move the oxen to another farm near Standerton, about an hour and a quarter's drive from Johannesburg. The farm belongs to Mr. Dick Kerslake. Dick is a great preservationist and a great friend of the Sandstone Heritage Trust, and he is currently looking after the oxen. Their excellent condition testifies to the quality of his livestock management programme.
The oxen will be returned to Sandstone Estates for ceremonial events only.
Our Afrikaner oxen continue to do sterling work day in and day out. One of their primary responsibilities is to keep our roads in good condition. With the amount of rain we have had recently there is inevitably erosion on the dirt roads. Rather than grade these roads, which takes diesel and which actually makes the problem worse, we continuously fill the gulleys with grass. This instantly locks the flow of water, decomposes and encourages grass to grow. Ultimately we want no roads, just tracks for the grass.
Our old staff and old oxen combine well together to carry out various functions on the farm.
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