Hereford breed making a resurgence
Despite back-to-back years of drought and escalating costs in the beef industry, the Hereford breed is making a mighty resurgence. Hereford registrations were up more than 8 percent during the 2012 American Hereford Association fiscal year that ended Aug. 31. Registered cow herd inventories are up 3 percent compared to the previous year--with more than 101,000 females reported this fiscal year.
Hereford breeders continue to experience a dramatic increase in production sale prices while reports of private-treaty sales continue to out-pace the previous year reports.
A total of 182 Hereford production sales were reported by AHA field representatives this fiscal year. Bull sales averaged $4,671, up nearly $700 and females $3,329, up almost $300 per head.
The second largest cattle breed in the U.S., Hereford reports 70,260 registrations and 37,091 transfers with 101,021 cows on inventory. The Association has 3,455 active adult members and 2,263 active junior members.
Hereford semen demand in the commercial industry is also increasing. According to the National Association of Animal Breeders, Hereford semen sales increased 23 percent over last year. Since 2006 Hereford domestic semen sales has increased 86% a testament to the increasing demand for Hereford genetics in the commercial industry.
Helping with this progress in the commercial industry has been the AHA's Whole Herd Total Performance Records program. Now 11 years old, the program has helped the AHA and Hereford breeders build a database that documents the breed's strengths. More and more Hereford breeders continue to go above status quo and submit ultrasound data, body condition scores, udder scores and cow weights, which all add to the integrity and accuracy of the AHA database.
"Because the AHA Board of Directors placed a resource emphasis on breed improvement and industry research, the Hereford breed now has the single largest database for cow fertility and productivity in the world, and we have documented the inherent economic traits in the breed that can deliver efficiency to the industry at a time when the industry needs it most," says Craig Huffhines, AHA executive vice president. "More importantly, congratulations to our AHA membership for adopting technology and making the strides in genetic improvement that have positioned Hereford has a breed of choice for commercial producers looking to add heterosis to their Angus-based cow herds.
"Today, the Hereford breed is poised to provide as much value to the commercial industry as any other breed with its combination advantages of fertility, feed efficiency, good disposition and an end product that will complement a vast array of quality beef programs across the country."
This fiscal year AHA also released genomic-enhanced expected progeny differences. The AHA genomic approach is the first of its kind to work with the scientific community and the National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium to build its own training and validation population. This approach is important because AHA now has access to all of the genotypes, phenotypes and pedigrees, which will allow the Association and its members to continue to train and build the Hereford-specific panel.
Also noted at the fiscal year's end are top registrations by state and by breeder. Texas topped the list of registrations per state at 7,156 with Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas and Oklahoma rounding out the top five.
The top five breeders by registration numbers were Rausch Herefords, Hoven, S.D., 840; Upstream Ranch, Taylor, Neb., 646; Alexander Mih, M-M Ranch Polled Herefords, Chanute, Kan., 543; Topp Herefords, Grace City, N.D., 492; and Mrnak Herefords, Bowman, N.D., 431.
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 Hereford.org.