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Demand for Hereford semen continues to rise

Hereford genetics are becoming increasingly popular according to the National Association of Animal Breeders report and ABS Global semen sale reports.

U.S. Hereford semen sales increased 8.4 percent in 2008, despite an overall drop in domestic semen sales for beef cattle. Sales of Hereford semen rose 39.3 percent in foreign countries, well above the overall increase of all breeds at 21.67 percent, according to the 2008 data from NAAB.

"Hereford semen sales have been extremely good," says ABS Global Beef Sire Acquisition Manager Lorna Marshall. "Our Hereford sales are up about 20 percent this year, and Hereford has been our fastest-growing breed the last three years."

Marshall attributes much of this growing demand for Hereford semen to the cattleman's need for heterosis. "As we've seen the nation's cow herd become more straightbred, we've certainly heard from some our commercial customers that they've experienced reduced fertility, as we've moved away from a cow herd that has some heterosis in it to more of a straightbred cow."

She says at ABS Global they've seen more interest in crossbreeding, and she thinks Herefords are a sensible choice. Marshall says, "We are in a new world with higher input costs and higher feed costs; people are looking at how to make a super efficient momma cow. And I think that has always been one of the strengths of Hereford cattle: they are low input, highly efficient cattle, that cross well on Angus."

ABS Global currently has 18 Hereford bulls to choose from in its bull battery. Marshall says that for the first time during her 13 year tenure with ABS, there are two Hereford bulls in the company's top 25 beef bulls for semen sales.

The American Hereford Association, with headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., is one of the largest U.S. beef breed associations. The not-for-profit organization along with its subsidiaries--Certified Hereford Beef LLC, Hereford Publications Inc., and American Beef Records Association--provides programs and services for its members and their customers, while promoting the Hereford breed and supporting education, youth and research. For more information about the Association, visit www.Hereford.org.

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