Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Animal Science

First Advisor

Michael Gonda


The Afrikaner breed of cattle is indigenous to South Africa and due to their hardiness was once the most popular breed amongst farmers. The objectives for this study were to: (1) estimate environmental effects (age at first calving, season) and (2) genetic variance affecting longevity in Afrikaner cattle using survival analysis and a Weibull model and (3) evaluate the effect of the Infusion Project on longevity utilizing a Cox model. For the first objective, age at first calving impacted longevity as younger age at first calving was associated with decreased longevity. Season of birth and year of birth also impacted longevity. For the second objective, longevity in Afrikaner cattle was lowly heritable although sufficient breeding value variation was uncovered to justify selection for this trait. For the third objective, the Infusion Project was developed to target shortcomings of the Afrikaner breed with the introgression of Bonsmara alleles into Afrikaner cattle. The first backcross generation (BC1) and the initial Afrikaner-Bonsmara cross generation (F1) had greater longevity. The second (BC2) backcross generation did not differ in longevity relative to the purebreds (P ≥ 0.05). Infusion of Bonsmara germplasm increased longevity of the hybrid females, in the short-term.


South Dakota State University

Included in

Beef Science Commons



Rights Statement

In Copyright