The Bonsmara

Bonsmara History

Bonsmara cattle are a composite breed developed by Professor Jan Bonsma in South Africa starting in the 1930s. The breed was developed to thrive in brittle, long-dry-season subtropical savanna regions, while rivaling European and Japanese cattle in meat quality. The breeders ultimately settled on 5/8 Afrikaner for dry season adaptability, 3/16 Hereford for meat quality, and 3/16 Shorthorn for milk production, thereby combining the best traits of all three types.

Developing the breed

In the process of developing the breed, every aspect of the cattle was regularly measured. These measurements included but were not limited to regular weighing, taking fourteen different body measurements, body temperature, pulse- and respiratory rates, recording hair count per square centimeter and tick counts.



Bonsmara are medium framed, with smooth, red to brown coats. They are heat tolerant and tick resistant, early maturing, with high fertility rates and easy calving. They move in a tight herd creating intense animal impact which is essential for restoring soil biology and fire mitigation in dry environments. Bonsmara’s ability to eat both brush and grass makes them ideal for restoring California rangeland.


Any breed of cattle can survive and produce under ideal conditions. But when the dry summer months come, the temperature rises, and the rains stop, fertility and growth are influenced. Bonsmaras are bred to excel even under harsh conditions. These traits will also reduce input costs of production thereby increasing the value of the cattle. They are an excellent choice for cross-breeding, increasing the development rate and fertility of their offspring.


Crossing Bonsmara bulls has proven to produce offspring with beneficial heterosis. Because of their adaptability in basically all environmental conditions, growth efficiency, beef and carcass characteristics, the breed has proliferated throughout the world.

Bonsmara can be found on the African continent and in the United States, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.


performance testing

Bonsmara bulls are performance tested throughout their development to standards established by the Bonsmara Breeders' Society. Performance testing gives the Bonsmara bulls a unique status. Performance testing is compulsory for all animals, which have full records kept during their growth and development.
  • Excellent fertility with short inter-calving periods
  • Early maturity
  • Low birth weights therefore easier calving
  • Better re-conception rates
  • Well-developed udders with adequate milk
  • Suited for dry or humid hot climates but adaptable to all climates
  • Better temperaments
  • Excellent carcass and meat qualities
  • Good growth ability
  • Advantageous feed conversion ratio

bull sales


Las Cumbres Ranch sold fifteen bulls in spring of 2023.

We currently only have two bulls available for sale. Please message us if you have interest or questions.

Las Cumbres Ranch bulls are available through private treaty. Our bulls are performance tested from birth, they are gentle, and easy to work with.

Join our waiting list