The Founding of a Breed Society, Subsequent Growth and Information of Interest to Prospective Breeders
The Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Breeders' Society of South Africa was founded in 1917 with a membership of 12. It was affiliated to the South African Stud Book
Association in 1918 and received its certificate of incorporation on 23 March 1921. Presently there are 140 registered stud breeding members as well as 50 registered commercial members and 14 non-active members. In addition, there are 2300 beef farmers in South
Africa on our data-base who use Angus in their commercial farming operations.
Angus cattle are registered at birth but registration certificates are valid only after visual inspection of the animal by a Society official. If the animal
passes inspection, the inspector signs the certificate. Black and Red Angus are registered in the same herd book, but in different sections.
Separate Appendix Systems are in operation for Red and Black Angus Cattle. Appendix A allows for entry of phenotypic Red or Black Angus female animals, subject to
inspection by the Breed Director or a Senior Judge of the Society. The female progeny of such Appendix A animals, sired by a fully registered Angus bull, are eligible for entry in the Appendix
B section, and the female progeny of Appendix B sired by a registered Angus bull, are eligible for entry in Appendix C. The Red female progeny of Appendix C females are eligible for registration in the Herd Book Proper.
However, the appendix system for Black Angus differs from the Red Appendix in that the female progeny of Appendix C Black Angus females are not eligible for
registration in the Herd Book Proper section, but will be registered in a separate Full-blood Herd Book. No male Angus animals are allowed in either of the Appendix Systems. Entries in all sections of the Appendix Systems are subject to the provision that animals
comply with the Society's Standard of Excellence and all other registration requirements and performance and reproduction requirements as determined by Council.
Shows and sales
Shows for Angus cattle accommodate both Black and Red, but they are judged separately in identical classes. National championship shows are held every two
years, and geographically well spaced regional or provincial championships in the various regions. Angus breeders participate at all major shows. The National
Sale is held annually, where Red and Black Angus bulls are offered for sale.
Many breeders have their own annual production sales. Dates are detailed under Forthcoming Events on this Website.
Active clubs exist in KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State, North-West Province, South and South-West Cape and Eastern Cape.
It is recommended that prospective members contact the office for advice and to put them in touch with breeders in their area. This will make it possible to
visit other Angus breeders, to see their herds and to make a sound decision. Literature, including breed standards and breeders' advice, and also details of the
Society's fee structure are available from the Society's office on request.
Distribution of Members and the Breed in the Various Ecological Areas
Angus cattle and breeders are dispersed widely all over South Africa. The breed is strongly represented in the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.
In the Western Cape and Eastern Free State, Black Angus is popular for its ability to thrive in extreme winters. They are equally popular in the Western Cape
with its winter rainfall. In these areas the Black Angus is unsurpassed as mother cow. Due to the breed's origin in the cold Scottish Highlands it is ideally
adapted to prosper in these conditions.
Before the foundation of the Namibian Stud Book in 1990, Angus breeders in Namibia were registered with the
South African Angus Society and the breed fared well in cross breeding systems, especially Zebu types.
In 1993 the largest volume of semen sold by Taurus was Angus semen, used in a crossbreeding system in
The Breed's Excellence and the Environments to Which it is Best Suited
Numerically, Angus is the biggest beef breed in the world. This is due to its undisputed merits and outstanding characteristics.
The following traits are the reasons why the breed is so popular in commercial cattle farming:
The breed is famous for its small calves at birth. The average birth mass of Angus calves is 35.1 kg (2004 birth statistics of the ARC).
Since 1980, the breed has achieved the highest fertility levels of the ten biggest breeds in the National Beef Performance Testing Scheme. The
breed is renowned for its high fertility under all circumstances. The breed also reaches maturity at a very early age (8-12 months), which means that they can calve for the first time
at an earlier age. Of the 13 major breeds in the Scheme during the period 1980-90, Angus had the lowest average age at first calving, namely 32 months.
This trait is increasing in importance due to the elimination of dehorning and carcass injuries. Where Angus bulls are used in a crossbreeding
system, approximately 90% of the progeny is polled.
Fixed Colour Pattern
Private research in Natal has shown that weaner calves with a fixed colour pattern achieved a higher price per kg compared to odd-coloured
weaners. Angus offers a fixed colour pattern and a choice between red and black. This is still an underestimated trait. Just think about the colour pattern of
some commercial herds, especially in poorly planned crossbreeding systems in South Africa, and one must conclude that colour uniformity is much more preferable.
Excellent Maternal Traits
World wide, Angus is recognised as one of the best mother cow lines due to their good milk production, high fertility, low maintenance
requirements and functional udders with small teats. Angus cows are not fastidious grazers and are excellent utilisers of any type of roughage.
Angus is a breed with fully pigmented eyes and udders, meaning that diseases such as eye cancer do not occur. Angus is also the only breed that
is free from snow-burnt udders during snow-covered North American winters.
A Worldwide Gene Pool
Because numerically Angus is the biggest breed in the world, the gene pool is unlimited. The American Angus Association alone had more than 12
million registered animal records at the end of 1996. Semen can be imported from the USA, Canada, Argentina, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. In
Argentina more than 70% of the cattle are Angus or crossbred Angus.
Because more than 50% of the South African calf crop is channelled through feedlots, growth is economically important as calves are purchased per
kilogram. It is also true that growth is highly correlated with birth mass. Consequently, one would deduce that the highest growth should go hand in hand with
the highest birth masses. This does not apply to Angus, considering growth per day in relation to birth mass. The following table gives a comparison of 2004
growth data (ARC Performance Test Results).
2004 Phase C
Angus growth was higher than average, while its birth mass was on par with average for animals
participating in the Intergis. It is not surprising, therefore, that the breed is so
renowned for its superb carcass qualities. It has the genetic ability to deposit intramuscular fat (known as marbling). The result is fine-textured beef
of ultimate tenderness, flavour and juiciness - truly the connoisseur's choice. In a test in the USA, Angus was the only breed that scored five out of
five for carcass quality in a 47-breed comparison.
In 1989, the S A Angus Society launched the Angus beef project in South Africa to market Angus beef exclusively. This programme was the first of its
kind in south Africa. The objective is to supply guaranteed, consistent quality to the consumer.
The CAB programme in the USA was started in 1978. Initially, growth was slow. In 1983, three million pounds
of CAB was sold.At the Angus World Forum in Cape Town in 2005 it was reported that CAB sales exceeded one-half billion pounds for the fifth successive year! This is part
of the reason for the enormous success story of the Angus breed world-wide.
Performance and Research Results
Participation in the National Beef Performance Testing Scheme is important to the Society for the progress of the breed. Without measurement both the present
situation and the future direction are unknown. 96 of the 134 registered breeders participate in the Scheme.
When one looks at the various weights, dramatic movements have taken place in the Angus breed. Fertility remains the most important trait in any production system. Here too, good progress has been made. According to the 2004
Performance Test Results of the ARC, Angus compared as follows with breeds supporting the Intergis: Age at first calving - 32.6 (national average 34.1); Intercalving period - 421 days (national average 428); cow weight at calving - 516 kg
(national average, 493); cow weight at weaning - 515 kg (national average - 512 kg); ADG 1 832 (national average, 1 754).Conversely there has been an excellent increase of 39 kg in weaning mass. The 12 months and
18 months masses also increased by 31kg and 46kg respectively, which are well above the national averages for all breeds.
Considering cow mass and efficiency (weaning mass as a percentage of cow mass) Angus cows have increased
in size but have become more efficient. This means more growth, but also more milk. Angus cows weaned an average of 44.4% of own mass, which is the same
as the national average.
Summarising it can be said that Angus has made tremendous progress as a breed by maintaining birth mass below the national
average, while other growth figures have improved dramatically above national averages. The breed's unsurpassed fertility has also improved.
Each year, top producing cows that conform to certain production standards are identified per breed. In 1992,
2,5% of all the Angus females were top producers. This was the highest of all breeds. The closest breed to Angus had 1,6% top producers.
Research on the feed requirements for maintenance of four different breed types of cows indicated that Angus
Hereford had lower maintenance requirements than other breeds, despite a much bigger difference in actual cow mass. This proves the point that Angus is a low
maintenance, top mother cow breed.