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History of Masingita Tuli

Masingita Tuli Stud was established by Mathias and Mildred Nleya on Kamamil and Troy Farms in Gweru, Zimbabwe. Foundation stock was acquired from Lebar and Ukhozi Tuli Studs.

Since establishment we have sought to grow the herd with additional purchases of pedigree animals and run a concurrent commercial herd made up of mainly Sanga type cattle where through the upgrading process we intend to introduce new blood lines on the maternal side of our herd.

Our herd is made up of mainly young cattle that are being monitored on a regular basis. Our bulls start breeding early and are easy to manage due to their docile nature. We have had a few of heifers calving as 24 months even though we prefer that there be bred at 24 months to calve at between 33 to 36 months.

Detailed records are kept of each animal and we have recently started performance recording of all animals in our herd.

Our reasons for choosing the Tuli were:

  • It is a truly Zimbabwean breed of international acclaim. Being an indigenous breed it is adaptable to the Zimbabwean environment and has high tick resistance;
  • Carcass quality as shown by studies done in the United States; Canada and Australia is one of the best in the world;
  • The breed is easy to manage due to its docile nature;
  • 90% of the breed is polled hence making handling easier;
  • The breed has high fertility which is important in any beef operation and can breed for long periods. It is normal for cows to breed well into their teens 13 -15 years and for bulls to breed up to 10 years old.

History of the Tuli

Extracted from Zimbabwe’s own breed – Tuli – 1995

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General Tuli History

The Tuli, is an indigenous beef breed of medium size, is hardy, very adaptable, short haired and naturally resistant to both internal and external parasites. Its colour is solid and ranges from white through shades of yellow to dark red. It has a striking long, deep body – broad and with good capacity; strong legs; and a docile temperament.

Early Tuli history in Zimbabwe

In the early 1940’s in Southern Rhodesia (present day Zimbabwe) the Government was promoting a cattle improvement scheme whereby bulls from imported European breeds were made available to the indigenous people. The idea was to “improve” the indigenous cattle stock. Mr Len Harvey, a South African born agricultural advisor working for the Government, had severe reservations about the whole idea.

He was convinced that the imported animals and their progeny would probably never survive the very hostile environment. Harvey had previously noticed that among the Tswana cattle, in the south western corner of Zimbabwe where he was posted, there was a particular yellow Sanga type animal, consistently in good condition and seemingly better adapted to the environment.

1942 – Len Harvey noticed a distinct type of yellow Sanga cattle in the Lowveld, south Gwanda.
1945 – 3000 acres set aside for a breeding station.
1946/7 – First herd of 20 cows and 1 bull purchased from local stock.
1947-1950 – Station run by Len apart from his other duties as Land Development Officer.
1950 – Station increased to 20 000 acres. Len was the full time officer-in-charge. Basically, the idea of the Tuli Breeding Station (T.B.S.) was to breed bulls to assist in improving African owned stock. A small percentage was made available to European farmers.
1954 – Tulis first entered in provincial shows in Zimbabwe
1955 – Tuli registered as an indigenous Zimbabwean Breed
1961 – The Breed Society was formed and the Constitution and Regulations were drawn up.
1962 – Len Harvey awarded an MBE by Queen Victoria for his contribution to agriculture
1965 – First public auction of Tuli cattle the complete offer of 39 bulls, 117 heifers and 49 cows were snapped up by enthusiastic buyers
1969 – Was a highlight in the history of the Tuli. On that day “Zimbabwe’s own breed – the Tuli” was adopted by the City of Bulawayo. Len Harvey led a magnificent string of his great golden beasts from the Show grounds along Fife Street down Selborne Avenue into the large City Hall grounds where they were paraded in front of His Worship the Mayor, Councilor C M Logan. Mr Broncho presented to the Mayor, Khumalo, a magnificent Tuli bull, who was accepted by the Mayor on behalf of the City of Bulawayo. Having adopted Khumalo the Mayor then handed him back to Len Harvey for safe-keeping! From this day the Tuli cattle were given the Freedom of the City of Bulawayo.
1979 – Due to the Liberation struggle and the labour force at T.B.S. being abducted, the whole herd was moved off the Station within a period of 48 hours and relocated to Matopos Research Station outside Bulawayo. Facilities were severely strained. For a while Len continued to supervise the breeding whilst living in Bulawayo but when he retired his enthusiasm and experience was sorely felt.

Distributional and important attributes distribution

The Tuli is eminently suited to extensive ranching systems. It has the unique ability to utilise even the worst quality grazing and still produce top quality meat. The amazing adaptability of the Tuli is self evident if one considers their distribution. Tulis can be found flourishing in sandy, semi desert areas in Namibia, Botswana and the Northern Cape; in hot heartwater bushveld areas such as Zimbabwe, Limpopo Province and the Lowveld of Mpumalanga; in the high rainfall, sourveld of high altitude Mpumalanga and Natal where redwater and gallsickness is rife; in the Drakensberg Mountains where snow falls regularly; on the extensive savannah grassland of the Free State; in the arid Karoo with it’s unique scrub bush; in the cold, misty mountains as well as the coastal bush of the Eastern Cape. Today there are also Tulis in Australia, Canada, the USA, South America and in tropical Zambia.