Fiscal year 2015 was a year of continued progress and growth for the Hereford breed as commercial producers continue to find value and predictability in utilizing Hereford genetics.
“Record sale prices for bulls and females and increases in registrations, transfers and membership document the continued demand for Hereford genetics,” says Jack Ward, American Hereford Association (AHA) executive vice president. “Because of our members’ commitment and dedication to data collection, we have developed tools that positively influence cow longevity including udder quality. Hereford longevity and fertility are important profit drivers that affect ranch sustainability and are key to our commercial customers’ success.”
A total of 195 Hereford production sales were reported by AHA field representatives during the fiscal year, which ended Aug. 31. Bull sales averaged $6,882, up nearly $1,800 per head; and females average $5,358, up more than $700 per head.
The second largest cattle breed in the U.S., Hereford reported 75,988 registrations (a 6% increase) and 44,424 transfers (a 10% increase) with 104,216 cows on inventory. The Association has 3,885 active adult members (a 7% increase) and 2,902 active junior members (a 9% increase).
Hereford semen use in the commercial industry is also increasing. According to the National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB), domestic Hereford semen sales increased 24% compared to last year. Hereford domestic semen sales have steadily increased since 2006 (179%), a testament to the increasing demand for Hereford genetics in the commercial industry.
Along with continuing commercial demand and increases in registrations and membership, the Hereford breed has documented dramatic improvements in calving ease, weaning and yearling performance and end product merit. From 2004 to 2014, AHA genetic trends indicate a 14% reduction in birth weights, 20% improvement in weaning and yearling performance and a 30% improvement in end product merit.
Helping with this progress has been the AHA’s Whole Herd Total Performance Records (TPR™) program. Now 14 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 drive progress by submitting udder scores, weaning weights, body condition scores, cow weights and ultrasound data, which all add to the integrity and accuracy of the AHA database.
The Association has continued to focus its research on feed efficiency, as well as a multi-year project with Simplot Livestock Co. documenting the benefits of using Hereford sires in a large-scale heifer program tracking the steer calves from birth to harvest and the heifer calves into production. The project expanded to mature cows after the first year.
There is no doubt today’s commercial cattleman wants it all, see Hereford.org/TheyWantItAll, and the Hereford breed is ready to provide it all.
“The stakes have never been higher to create value and efficiency throughout the production system,” Ward says. “As a breed, we are poised to provide the industry genetics that are efficient, accountable, predictable, profitable and sustainable.”
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 9,303 with Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Kansas rounding out the top five.
The top five breeders by registration numbers were Rausch Herefords, Hoven, S.D., 917; Upstream Ranch, Taylor, Neb., 721; Shaw Cattle Co. Inc., Caldwell, Idaho, 598; W4 Ranch, Morgan, Texas, 553; and Van Newkirk Herefords, Oshkosh, Neb., 499.
Source: American Hereford Association