WINDHOEK - The reality of the terrible and protracted drought ravaging the country last Wednesday resulted in the decimation of one of the most pristine Charolaise herds in the country when stud breeders Piet Coetzee and his wife Nicolene had to witness the departure of 48 champion animals to South Africa.
A tearful Coetzee struggled to put the event into words, saying that saying goodbye to his award-winning animals was one of the hardest things he and his wife ever had to do.
“We had no choice. Our farm near Rehoboth is depleted and there is no grazing. We could not feed these stud animals any longer as the bills were running into hundreds of thousands of dollars every month and the animals were deteriorating rapidly. This drought is relentless and it is going to destroy many stud breeders and farmers before the end of the year. Farmers across the country are already on their knees, and winter has not even started and the rain season is many months away,” he laments.
Among the Charolaise that were loaded onto trucks heading to the farm of South African buyer and stud breeder Dewald van der Merwe, was “Chappie”, a Charolaise bull that was earmarked to pair with the off-springs of the award-winning female “Catrikilis” to introduce an unequalled Charolaise quality to Namibia. “This breeding plan was my big dream, but that dream has also departed to South Africa,” says Coetzee. Both Catrikillis and Chappie have won various prices including breeding bull of the year, Namibian junior and breed champions, and interbreed champions.
Coetzee explains: “ I wanted to breed a strong-framed Charolaise that would carry more fat and my ultimate aim was to establish a Charbrays (Charolaise and Brahman) stud and I was well on my way to register the first off-springs within the next three months with the Charolaise Association. But we had to turn around and take the best decision in the interest of the animals,” he laments.
Catrikillis, Chappie, 28 of his best cows, 12 calves and eight pristine Catrikillis heifers were part of the sale, while he managed to keep 14 female animals in the hopes of one day breeding with them again.
Buyer Van der Merwe flew in from South Africa to seal the transaction and commented that he has never seen the likes of Chappie and Catrikillis in his country.
Coetzee says he and his wife wept as the animals were loaded but he comforted himself with the fact that he and Van der Merwe came to an agreement that Coetzee could in future buy some of the off-spring and he has also applied for seed-shares in the two bulls.
“I am really concerned about what this drought is going to do to my fellow farmers. I am extremely sad about selling my stud, but I’m comforted knowing they are in good hands and on a farm with plenty of grazing,” he concludes.
The Coetzees are the breeders of a world champion Van Rooy ram and is renowned for his Boer goats, Damaras, and Kalahari Red sheep. They are also the owners of Namboer Auctioneers and they run an ear-tag company which produces locally manufactured ear tags for all kinds of animals.