Briggs Ranch

Briggs Ranches

Tuli History

Have you ever investigated your family tree to see just how far back in history you can go? It is a very fascinating adventure, and very satisfying when you discover you can go back 200 years or so to identify ancestors. What if you could trace your roots back to about 4,000 years ago? The Tuli breed of cattle can do just that.

In order to simplify things, we can say that there are two types of cattle in Africa. Humped and no hump. About 5.000 years before Christ the no hump cattle were known to have been bred in Egypt. About 2,000 B.C. the humped breed was imported from Asia into East Africa. Apparently this strange breed adapted very well to this new harsh environment. The ancestors of these cattle were eventually moved by the Bantu tribe into Zimbabwe. This hardy breed of bovines were driven down by migrant nomadic tribes as they sought new pastures for their herds. These were long horned cattle for the most part and were the dominant breed in Zimbabwe before the beginning of the 20th century.

There occurred during these years a herd culling process that would get rid of animals with undesirable traits, such as poor breeding habits and undesirable aggression. This also was a time when these cattle began to develop a natural immunity to parasitic diseases and to become tolerant to heat in order to survive the tough surroundings they were relegated to.

In 1 942, due to the good eye and persistence of a cattleman, the development of the Tuli breed was given a quantum leap forward. Mr Len Harvey had noticed what appeared to be a distinct type of Sanga cattle among the mixed breeds of stock. Their adaptability to local conditions seemed to always be superior to the rest of the cattle. Mr. Harvey brought this to the attention of the department of Native Agriculture and persuaded them to begin a study to see if these cattle could be improved upon, and also to see if they would breed true to their type.

The efforts of Mr. Harvey led to a special area being set aside near Gwanda for the establishment of a breeding station in 1945. This would be the beginning of what would result in being the Tuli breed. Len Harvey was appointed the Officer in Charge of the breeding station in 1950.

In 1961 the breed society was formed named the Tuli Cattle Society.

Mr. Harvey was recognized for his significant contributions, and in 1962 was appointed a member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire as a direct result of his work with the Tuli breed.

The natural traits of this breed (high fertility, hardiness, resistance to ticks, adaptability, docility and excellent carcass scoring) have made the Tuli a natural choice for many of the top breeders, not in Zimbabwe, but also in other parts of the world.

In the late 1960's South African breeders were making inquires about introducing Tuli's into their country. There was a reluctance on the part of Zimbabwe to do so, reasoning that it would simply be giving a good thing to a rival in the beef industry. However, in 1977, Dr. T.S. Kellerman and Mr. J.J. Bornmann acquired 30 heifers and 3 bulls from the Tuli Breeding Station located in Gwanda, thus launching the Tuli into South Africa.

The breed was promoted in South Africa by publishing articles, holding field days, giving judging courses, and exhibiting at shows. They have now become a familiar sight at most shows in the country. The first time they were exhibited at the Warmbaths' Show in 1981 by Mr. Bornmann, his bull, Sigidi, was judged Champion Beef Bull of the show. Not a bad beginning for a breed new to the country!

It is interesting to note that in 1985 Mr. Bornmann received the Farmer's Weekly prize from the Minister of Agriculture at the Pretoria Show. The winning cow was C 922. She was recognized for outstanding achievement in Phase "A" of the National Beef performance Testing Scheme. She has a calving interval of 306 days after 8 successive calves and a weaning index of 106. She was one of only 20 Tuli cows in the national competition.

The demand for Tuli genetics was still exceeding the supply in South Africa by as late as the 1920's.

Several Australian cattlemen in conjunction with the Belmont Research Station, formed a group with the intention of importing Tuli into their country in 1987. This was accomplished in 1989 when Tuli embryos were imported and implanted into recipients at the Australian quarantine facility. Once the progeny were released, they were sent to research facilities for further study. These studies conclude, among other things, that the Tuli is a breed that:

  • is early maturing, a medium sized pure African Sanga with excellent beef confirmation and particularly well developed rear quarters.
  • exhibits environmental adaptability equal to the Zebu breeds, equally well adapted to arid and tropical areas. This was measured by heat and humidity tolerance, tick and parasite resistance, and ability to locate forage and water under harsh conditions.
  • females with high fertility, excellent teat and udder conformation, good milk production and are easy calvers. Males have early sexual maturity and high quality semen.
  • exhibits a quiet, docile temperament, easy to handle and manage.
  • has a high quality and yield carcass. It is little wonder that the Tuli breed is creating such an interest in North and South America. In 1991 Tuli semen was imported into the United States for research by a number of universities and branches of the United States Department of Agriculture. The result of nearly four years of testing in the states has created the current surge of interest among beef producers The possibilities of the impact this unique breed can have on cross breeds in the Americas is
    becoming more and more evident. A true Bos Taurus breed with the better qualities of the Bos Indicus already present. Imagine what the future may hold for the descendants of this family tree!






Briggs Ranch Genetics
10456 N I-45
Rice, Texas   75155
Phone (214) 384-6622  
Fax (214) 638-6019  



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