John Devonport is the President of the Southern African Limousin Society.
John was brought up in Johannesburg and went to Wits where he qualified as a Chartered Accountant. “As a family we loved camping and boating on the Vaal Dam,” he said.
He married Tracey in 1985 and together they bought our first farm on the upper reaches of the dam in 1988. Today the farm Water’s Edge, comprises 6 farms with 20km of waterfront.
“It is a most beautiful farm, and the water does wonders for the soul. It’s a unique, drought-resistant farm in that the land nearly doubles in size when the dam recedes. The rich grazing below the high-water mark makes it ideal for cattle farming, with an average rainfall of 600mm per year. The sourveld of the Highveld and very cold winters make it challenging for the cattle to adapt and survive.
“We run approximately 800 head on 1200 hectares, using regenerative grazing techniques,” says John.
Background of the Limousin breed:
We love farming with impressive-looking, beefy Limousin cattle. Limousins were introduced into South Africa in 1974, and can be found throughout Southern Africa. They adapt well to diverse climatic conditions and the harsh Southern African environment.
The breed has developed into a highly efficient beef producing animal with a bulky, well-muscled carcase when crossed with the local, indigenous breeds.
Beginning of the Stud:
We started the Devlan Limousin Stud in 1994. The name was derived from our surnames Devonport and Landau.
How John decided on the breed:
We started with a small commercial herd of Brahman females. We bought our first Limousin bull from Mr Willie van Eeden from Vereeniging. This bull single-handedly, and in one breeding season, got 60 females pregnant!
We entered slaughter competitions, and regularly won the best carcase and best group of four, with these magnificent Limbra crosses.
We were apprehensive to enter into the stud arena, but the appealing features of the Limousin breed changed all that, and we eventually bought 3 Limousin registered heifers and mated them to our amazing Limousin bull.
Core Traits of the Breed:
Limousins cross incredibly well with the local breeds with the “F94L Profit Gene” allowing them to produce 20% more beef naturally, without double-muscling and easy calving.
The females are a fertile animal, and many herds have an average ICP of between 370 and 380 days. The longevity of the breed is well-known and cows regularly produce calves up to 18+ years of age.
They have a high feed conversion efficiency, are excellent foragers, have high ADG and FCR which makes them ideal for grass-fed beef production and well adapted to Southern Africa.
If one Googles “Ask the meat man.com” and compares a flat, fat carcass with a bulky, beefy, low-fat carcass there is a massive 35% differential in saleable meat. This is significant and a reason why feedlots and meat processors want a Limousin animal.
The Limousins have a relatively fine bone structure, as opposed to other beef breeds, resulting in:
- A high meat-to-bone ratio, with very little excess fat
- Excellent slaughter %
- Superior Deboning Percentage of 75 – 82% per carcass and more saleable meat
The Limousin breed is exceptional for its tender & noble cooking quarters (sirloin, rump steak, rib steak, etc.) and for lean beef which is essential for the healthy consumer.
Vision for the Society and plan for the next 2 years
Our goal is to produce more beef sustainably and cost-effectively into the future, to feed our growing nation.
As fertility accounts for 60% of herd performance; we seek to promote fertility and reproduction in the breed throughout Southern Africa. We strive to have all breeders participate in performance testing to allow genetic improvement of the breed, to the benefit of all.
Our aim is to remain financially sound and grow our breed by training and encouraging new breeders to get the breeding basics right with farm visits, farmer’s days and courses.
Marketing our breed on social media throughout Southern Africa and getting our breeders involved with sharing posts and new ideas.
Trying to influence change to our classification system to reward the “quantity” of meat profit driver which is so significant to our beef industry.
How to encourage commercial breeders to join our Society:
We are a unified Society and with a young, enthusiastic, and dynamic Council.
We aim to increase the public knowledge of the hybrid vigour of the Limousin breed. This will encourage commercial breeders to buy Limousin bulls to cross-breed on their commercial herds.
Another goal is to concentrate on our SADC neighbours and make them feel part of our Southern African Limousin Breed Society.
Finally by holding farmer’s days and training courses about the Limousin breed. We attend shows, and various Expo’s to market the breed. Many posts on Facebook and our Limousin WhatsApp group about various activities on our different Limousin beef farms.
Contact them at 011-485-1498, 0834543095 or firstname.lastname@example.org.