John and Tracey Devonport run the successful Devlan Limousin cattle stud, which is situated on Water’s Edge on the Vaal.
John was brought up in Johannesburg and went to Wits where he qualified as a Chartered Accountant.
John married Tracey in 1985 and together they bought their 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.”
When was the Limousin breed introduced into South Africa?
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.
We love farming with impressive-looking, beefy Limousin cattle.
What core traits make the Limousin breed so profitable?
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.
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.
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.
They feed very well in the feedlot with excellent ADG and FCR.
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.
How did you get involved in Stud Farming?
We started the Devlan Limousin Stud in 1992. The name was derived from our surnames.
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.
Devlan Limousin herd
As fertility accounts for 60% of a herd’s performance, we seek to promote fertility and reproduction. We have regularly won the BreedPlan Cow Group as the largest and most fertile herd in SA.
Our bulls are weaned from their mothers and thrown out to survive and fend for themselves. They are raised on the tough sourveld highveld grass and frigid winters. Only the most adapted, with good conformation, are selected and they will perform in most herds throughout Southern Africa.
“Covid” has put a dampener on showing, however we have managed to win 4 Gold Cups with three different animals at the last four shows that we attended recently.
Only the best herd sires with excellent genetics and conformation within the breed are used in our fertile herd of females. We try and breed an early-maturing, right type of bull for Southern African conditions.
Bio-security and herd health
Devlan Limousins is part of the Elite V-Plan group, developed by Dr Danie Odendaal.
The herd is annually tested for Contagious Abortion, and Tuberculosis every second year.
All breeding bulls are sheath washed and fertility tested every 6 months.
A strict vaccination program is followed and adapted to the Highveld area.
We run the largest Limousin stud in the country, with 200+ breeding females and this fertile herd has an amazing 372 days average Inter-calving Period.
We will gladly replace any bull that may not perform to his potential.
Please call or WhatsApp John on 083 454 3095 or write to email@example.com.
You can google Devlan Limousins on www.devlan.co.za
Bulls available on Agri4All