Basson Family Trust

Basson Family Trust

Humansdorp, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Herd Type

Holstein, Jersey

Herd Size


“Our business has been using ABS genetics exclusively for almost 25 years, of which, 20 have been on the GMS mating program.

ABS has always provided an excellent choice of reliable, high TPI sires that have met all criteria we have required for a seasonal pasture based dairy farm.

Over the years I have built up a strong relationship with the ABS representative, MC Steyn, who has guided me through genetic selection my whole farming career. Our relationship has been built on trust, knowledge and excellent service. These days it is simply one of friendship.

The result is a genetically sound and uniform herd; good udders, good fertility, good feet and legs. We have focused on breeding smaller stature cows making them better suited to covering large distances required from a free range farm.

I look forward to the next 20 years of ABS service…”

Vernon Basson

ABS Genetics and the Basson family started their successful working relationship together in 1998. They have come a long way, with Vernon Basson (2nd generation) now running the whole dairy operation. They run a dryland farm, and are strictly seasonal. The last few years has posed immense challenges with this type of system as the rainfall has been erratic and in some seasons, non-existent. Vernon has had to come up with inventive ways to try and keep his cows well fed and thriving! They are currently trying to condense their breeding season and recently have started using Sexcel on their highest genetic potential cows and heifers. They do this effectively due to the herd being on GMS for over 20 years, and using the herd ranking tool (HPR). This takes all the guess work out of breeding, and ensures the most effective and highest genetics gains are achieved.

10 years ago the Basson’s decide to breed for smaller cows, with the help from MC Steyn (Genetics Advisor to the Basson’s since the start of their partnership with ABS). He has had the following breeding philosophy and implemented it beautifully on farm; aiming to always breed for more than average strength, less than 0 on stature and ultimately ending up with a 600kg cow. Recently, MC has been able to go through the herd and breed any cows they are not wanting progeny of too Beef. Currently, the herd average is 535kg, with the cows drying off at 580kg. They are able to calve them down between 20 – 24 months, and are achieving phenomenal productions. The first lactation cows are currently milking 6000 litre/ lac with the second lactation cows doing 7500 litres and the third and older achieving 8500 litres. This goes to show, you can have highly efficient cows that milk hard, get back in calf and stay healthy. Their somatics hover around 200 000 and thus they achieve their bonus consistently. They have credited this to using the top Valiant products on offer, namely Foam Ultra as a pre-dip and Barrier as a post-dip.

Vernon isn’t someone who will waste his money on frivolous things within his business, and seeing how he has invested in a targeted approach with quality products like genetics, teat dips and services, has shown that if you put the correct emphasis and energy into the key areas that are value and profit driven you can still have a simple system that is highly efficient and lucrative. The bulls used within the GMS mating programme have allowed for the greatest genetic gains possible using the HPR, and now implementing Sexcel on farm, the selection intensity has been further increased. These types of management decisions made with the input from MC Steyn have allowed for the fastest genetic progress possible. Veron has said that his breeding of his cattle never worries him, as he knows that he can trust in MC’s recommendations. He has also said that their relationship has developed over time from a working business relationship, to that of a friendship.

The years of trust, understanding and investment that MC has made within their business will stand the test of time and we congratulate MC and the Basson family on a successful partnership and showing the true quality and ethos of how ABS Genetics wants to partner with our farmers to work towards a profitable future together.

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