Boran Takes Centre Stage

The display of Boran cattle by Kenyan breeders at the upcoming Okamatapati Industrial and Agricultural show has been greeted with great excitement by communal and emerging farmers of the Ongombe Show Association.

Chief organiser of the event to be held in August in Otjiwarongo, Albert Tjihero, says at least one of the foremost breeders of Boran cattle will showcase these hardy animals and put them up for sale at an auction during the show.

Boran cattle have developed adaptive traits of crucial importance for their survival. Some of these characters are: – Ability to withstand periodic shortage of water and feed, ability to walk long distances in search of water and feed and ability to digest low quality feeds. The ability to walk and survive starts with sound feet and leg conformation. Dark pigmentation and black points protect against sunburn. These are important survival characteristics.

The herd instinct of the Boran makes it easy to manage and survive in bush country. They will always stay together and can ‘graze on the trot’. The cow’s g protective instinct deters predators.

While the Boran breeders have greatly improved the beef conformation of their animals, they never lost sight of the important qualities of the indigenous Boran.

In Kenya’s vast northern districts, long distances separate grass from water, and markets are far away. The Boran evolved under these stressful conditions and selection pressure has given the breed its remarkable walking ability, so greatly admired today. Being adapted to hot dry conditions, the Boran, with its lower maintenance requirement has a better chance of surviving droughts than Bos taurus breeds. The Boran cow will cease lactating in aerse conditions, letting her live to conceive again when conditions improve.

For half a century, the improved Boran from Kenya has penetrated into many areas of Eastern Africa, Zambia and the Congo where conditions differ from those prevailing in semi-arid Kenya. Reliable sources of information have shown that the Boran has adapted well to these diverse environments where, according to reports, they are more productive than the local cattle breeds.

Source : New Era