Tito Vorster is the CEO of the Delft Group and SIMBRA SA Breed President. They have a diversified agriculture footprint in Mpumalanga. Delft Group is a family-owned business managed by his wife, Prof. Desiré Vorster, André de Waal, a strong management team and Tito himself. Their core business is forestry, essential oils and Simbra Cattle.

“Prior to our investment in agricultural in 2005 we were based in Johannesburg where I was a partner in a prominent auditing firm, a tax practitioner, entered commerce, became the MD of a listed company and a director of various prominent companies. It was a major and brave decision to leave Johannesburg and venture into agriculture. Today we are grateful for the decision we made and agriculture has rewarded us well,” Tito said.

More about Tito’s breed

“Our stud’s name is Delft Simbra and we started farming with cattle as expert rookies in 2005.  At first, we started with Simmentaler cattle. The intensity of tick-borne diseases, sour veld, lack of maize rest overs and a tough environment were not ideal for Simmentaler cattle.

“It quickly became evident that we would do better crossing our Simmentaler animals with red Brahman bulls.  The offspring being red, white blazed, smooth skin, hardy, easy to farm beef producing Simbra cattle. We then introduced Simbra bulls and experienced excellent hybrid vigour because of the retained heterosis within Simbra, and as a result by using only Simbra bulls, we improved our cow herd and were producing highly sought after weaners that excelled in various production systems.

“The value proposition of Simbra to us a breeder and to our clients were enhanced exponentially and confirmed that Simbra is a suitable breed for our environment and anywhere in South Africa. We made the right choice,” Tito said.

Key features of the Simbra breed

The evolutionary development of Simbra’s parent-breeds differs greatly. The Simmental from central Europe was adapted to long cold winters and used for both milk and beef. Zebu cattle, the genetic pool from which the Brahman breed is derived, originates from India, an environment of heat, humidity, disease, and parasites. The purpose of the Simbra was to raise a breed that could adapt to diverse South African environments, not only the physical environments but also production systems and market requirements. To achieve this goal, the milk and beef production capacity of the Simmentaler was combined with the adaptability, disease resistance, and hardiness of the Brahman. The Simbra breed is an easy to farm with breed that has cows and heifers with outstanding maternal ability and reproduction, and bulls that thrive in all production systems.

The breeders society’s vision for the future:

  • For many years, the Simmentaler and Simbra breeds were housed in a joint Society which affected both breeds adversely. From January 2021 an independent Simbra Society was created and for the first time Simbra Breeders had the opportunity to determine a new and fresh strategy with a progressive clear vision.
  • The vision of the Simbra Society is a bottom-up approach in terms of which our members, who are responsible for the production of the Simbra product, actively participate in the determination our vision. The council of the Simbra Society is the engine room where strategy and vision are forged for the benefit of the members.
  • Our new constitution embraces inclusivity and transparency. Concepts such as regional representatives, a compulsory Breed Improvement Committee of which the chairperson of the committee is a member of the Council, the publication of minutes of Council meetings and the fact that members can take the decisions made by the Council on review. The financial model and budget process is unique and very effective.
  • Our distinctive competitive advantage is that Simbra is a value proposition underpinned by animal science. Hence, we embrace a scientific approach to gain insight of our product and to improve and validate the Simbra Value Proposition exponentially.
  • We provide quality service and leadership that promotes genetic progress within in the breed and ensure a high return on investment for our members and clients. It is for this reason that we have employed competent and committed staff as Breed Director, Animal Scientist: Breed Improvement and an experienced Data Processor.
  • Parallel to the requirements of the global livestock industry our breeders share our vision to produce high quality sought after beef profitably, whilst maintaining animal welfare and a low carbon footprint.

Our focus is to further our quest to make Simbra a breed of choice. To do this we will continue with the implementation of our strategy approved by our members.

  • Firstly, we will build on the past years successes achieved with our inward approach to achieve an outward objective being the profitable production of quality Simbra beef. To do this we will do the following:
    • Our Breed Director and Animal Scientist: Breed Improvement will continue with the regional meeting with our members. The focus of these meetings being:
      • The improvement of the Simbra Value Proposition for our clients.
      • The entrenchment of our scientific approach.
      • The improvement of our breeder’s ability to assess the phenotype of each animal using our linear classification system.
      • The practical selection of animals that will add to the profitability of stud breeding.
      • The use of the various features available via Breedplan, how to use these tools to gain an understanding of the progress each breeder is making in terms of genetic improvement.
    • We have two big Simbra events at the Afridome in Parys every year inMarch and September. We will be supplementing these events with a Simbra Academy. More info to follow.
    • We have decided and will implement a new selection approach for both inspections and auctions – to ensure quality and structural soundness of our registered Simbras.
  • We will aim to double our farmers/informaton days held in the current year over the next two years. The purpose of these days are as follows:
    • To share and validate the Simbra Value Proposition with existing and potential clients.
    • To present them with a Simbra Breeders Manual where they can gain insight on our approach to cattle breeding.
    • To give them an understanding of the role of stud breeding and how the purchase of Simbra bulls will enhance the profitability of their herds.
    • Our main focus will be on profitable beef production within commercial herds making use of Simbra bulls.
    • To showcase and discuss Simbra cattle with them.

To commence with Simbra stud breeding, a new breeder can purchase stud cattle from stud breeders at production auctions or directly. The Simbra Society arrange two event each year where some of the finest Simbra genetics are offered by their members – the Simbra Heifer Carnival in March and the SSS (Simbra Spring Showcase) in September, both hosted at the Afridome in Parys.

Breeders with Simbra type animals canhave their herd inspected by a Simbra accredited inspector, and the approved female animals can then be registered in the Simbra Cum herd system. Simbra have a scientifically designed breeding programme through which if followed, commercial animals can be used to breed stud animals over a couple of generations using registered Simbra bulls.

Having a profitable operation that produces high-quality meat is the main goal of any cattle farmer. To achieve this continual development is crucial in terms of developing the breed (animals) as well as producers – stud and commercial. Operating a successful stud is a good way of vertical expansion and should add value and increase the intrinsic value of a beef production operation, especially if based on science.

Tito says that it is important to farm with a breed that you like.

Contact Kobus Bester – Simbra breed director at 083 303 4422 or kobus@simbra.org.