It took an epic effort to source the necessary cattle from east Africa, and it ate up not only their life savings, but also the money they had set aside for their wedding and honeymoon. But for Claire and Martin Joubert the work they put in to become premier breeders of Ankole cattle in South Africa is paying off handsomely.
The duo built their business from the ground up, using cattle that are direct descendants of the Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni’s Royal herd. Today, they own Africa’s most expensive Ankole cow and co-own the continent’s most expensive Ankole bull calf.
Their company, Full Blood Genetics offers all the original bull lines and the top performing cows. Also, their farm boasts with about 200 cattle and have bred a herd of Ankole cattle through embryo work.
Their company was launched in 2018 after the two fell in love with the Ankole breed. It was the cattle’s unique appearance that stole their hearts. Upon further research, they were blown away by the breed’s characteristics and traits.
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Selecting the best Ankole
In 2019 they took an expedition to Uganda to source the best Ankole genetics in the world to bring back to Mzansi. This was a huge challenge and the biggest the couple have had to face to date.
After meticulously hand selecting a number of standout Ankole out of a massive herd, Martin and Claire went through each of the cattle’s specific traits, looking at horns, phenotype, structural integrity as well as balance of body and milking abilities.
The Ankole bulls that they sourced had to be completely unrelated as the Jouberts knew what they chose would contribute to the future of Ankole in South Africa. Genetic variety was paramount, they explain.
After a few weeks, they finally chose eight bulls from different bloodlines in seven different districts in Uganda.
Despite the challenges, the duo deem themselves lucky. “We were able to be one of the first breeders after President Ramaphosa and this allowed us to be in the forefront of the breed,” Martin says.
Read the full story of how the couple got the cattle out of Uganda through Kenya, and how they sacrificed all holidays for four years, on Food For Mzansi.
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