About the Hereford Breed
Add Herefords into Your Program
Costs, such as feed, labour, and animal health are forever increasing. Maximizing production usually means maximizing input costs. But how does the practical cattlemen maximizing production but minimize the input costs? How do the practical cattlemen get more calf for their buck?
The ANSWER: By adding Herefords into the program. With a Hereford or Hereford influence animal being more moderately framed, she requires less feed to maintain her condition and still raise a proportionately larger calf. An abundant or limited feed resource does not matter. A Hereford or Hereford influence animal will produce more valuable meat per acres of grassland than any other. This is due to the fact that the animal is a hardy forager, converting grass and grass products to beef efficiently and economically. Under practical management conditions, they are better able to maintain their condition with less feed resources.
The mothering qualities of a Hereford or Hereford influence female are second to none. Because she is low maintenance, she weans he calf while maintaining her condition and nurturing the calf she is carrying. She does all this and still rebreeds within a 365-day span. These animals are hardy, early maturing and unmatched forager, not to mention easy calving. When combining the fertility and calving ease of Herefords, you are able to achieve a higher calf crop percentage. The mothering abilities, vigorousness, production of good quality milk, fertility and feed efficiency are all desired traits to help you produce more pounds of calf per cow exposed.
Longevity is also a strong trait in the Hereford breed. Replacement costs, for example, are lower when that Hereford or Hereford influence will produce for many years. Let’s not forget about the bulls either. They last. A Hereford is like the Energizer Bunny, they just keep on going and going and going.
The cattle business is very much a family business. The docility of the Hereford breed gives everyone a piece of mind when the children and grandchildren are working alongside. The breed is easy to handle, reducing strain and stress on the producer, animal and handling equipment.
There is no perfect breed available, but the adaptability and versatility of the Hereford breed has made them the most widely used British breed in the world. This enables practical cattlemen to use them in their straight bred or crossbreeding programs, in virtually any environment. The combined traits of the Hereford are what the feedlots and packers are looking for. The smaller cuts of meat that a Hereford or Hereford influence animal produces is what the consumer is looking for. What is your pasture?
Feed Efficiency is a growing concern with backgrounders and feedlots. Price of feed is not cheap and they need to feed those animals the most efficient way The Hereford breed was developed to be efficient and still maintains that great trait today.
- There has been a study conducted in the U.S. called "Impacts of Crossbreeding on Profitability on Vertically Coordinated Beef Industry Market Systems". It is an extremely interesting article on how different crossbreeding combinations can affect the bottom line ~ read article.
- Producers are always looking for ways to maximize profits with reduced labour costs. This article is excellent reading on how a rancher from Wawota, SK operates his bale grazing system ~ read article.
- This article explains how a rancher from Missouri "mob grazes". A good grazing system can always improve a producers bottom line ~ read article.
- A good grazing system can always improve a producers bottom line ~ read article.
- J.R. Simplot had one choice to add consistency and value to the cow herd. His choice was simple: Hereford. This article shows how Hereford genetics work for J.R. Simplot ~ read article.
- Please read these articles about feed efficiency on trials done in feedlots.
- This article on The Economic Impact of Feed Efficiency in Beef Cattle, is also very informative.
The Origin of the Hereford Breed
The Hereford breed was founded some two and one-half centuries ago as a product of necessity. Thrifty and enterprising farmers near Herefordshire, County of Hereford, England, were determined to produce beef for the expanding food market created by Britain's industrial revolution. To succeed in Herefordshire, these early-day cattlemen realized they must have cattle which could efficiently convert their native grass to beef and do it at a profit.
There was no breed in existence at the time to fill that need, so the farmers of Herefordshire founded the beef breed that logically became known as Herefords. These early Hereford breeders molded their cattle with the idea in mind of a high yield of beef and efficiency of production, and so firmly fixed these characteristics that they remain today as outstanding characteristics of the breed.
Beginning in 1742 with a bull calf and two cows inherited from his father's estate, Benjamin Tomkins is credited with founding the Hereford breed. From the start, Mr. Tomkins had as his goals economy in feeding, natural aptitude to grow and gain from grass and grain, rustling ability, hardiness, early maturity and prolificacy, traits that are still of primary importance today.
Other pioneering breeders were to follow the Tomkins' lead and establish the world-wide renown for the Herefordshire cattle causing their exportation from England to wherever grass grows and beef production is possible.
Herefords in the 1700's and early 1800's in England were much larger than today. Many mature Herefords of those days weighed 3,000 pounds or more. Cotmore, a winning show bull and noteworthy sire, weighed 3,900 pounds when shown in 1839. Gradually, the type and conformation changed to less extreme size and weight to get more smoothness, quality and efficiency.
Although they were already occurring naturally, an Iowa lawyer named Warren Gamon is credited with founding Hereford cattle of the polled variety in 1898. He assembled 11 head of polled Herefords in 1900 after sending out inquiries to 2,500 members of the American Hereford Association and receiving 1,500 replies.