National Reference Sire Program

The American Hereford Association (AHA) National Reference Sire Program (NRSP) is a program that allows Hereford breeders to test young sires in real-world commercial settings.

Benefits of the program include, 1) Obtaining high accuracy carcass expected progeny differences (EPDs); 2) Obtaining performance data compared to other sires tested in herd contemporaries; 3) Opportunity to market semen as a reference sire in the NRSP after nominated and selected; and 4) Opportunity to test sires next to the top Hereford genetics in the breed.

Responsibilities of test herd:

  • Select from nominated bulls.
  • Contact bull owner for semen shipping instructions.
  • Breed 55-60 cows at a random mating across genotypes.
  • Breed 30 cows to one reference sire that has been tested in previous years (at the cost of the test herd, semen and shipping at a commercial rate).
  • Provide complete data on NRSP forms.
  • Breeding data: Cow ID, specific breed makeup (based on percent), age of cow at breeding time, date bred and sire used
  • Birth data: Calf ID, date of birth, weight and calving ease score
  • Weaning data: Calf ID, date weaned and weight
  • Interim data: Calf ID, date, weight
  • Carcass data: Calf ID, carcass weight, marbling score, fat thickness, ribeye area, internal fat and yield grade
  • Test herd must provide at least 55% conception rate.
  • Test herd must retain ownership or partnership at 50% or greater on cattle until they have been harvested.

Test herd cost:

  • All costs will be covered by test herd.
  • Test herd will pay for the reference sire semen for the 30 cows, and shipping semen will be priced at a commercial rate, data collection will be paid by test herd on all cattle.

Responsibilities of bull owner:

  • Nominate bulls for test sire.
  • Nominate bulls to AHA by March 1 each year.
  • Furnish 75 straws of semen and pay shipping cost to test herds.
  • Pay fees as required.

Bull owner cost:

  • Semen and shipment of semen.
  • Pay the test herd fee per bull tested when semen is shipped — contact Shane Bedwell for details.

Responsibilities of American Hereford Association:

  • Receive data and report all data back to bull owner and to test herd. (There will be no cost to the test herd or the bull owner for the data reporting done by the AHA.)

For more information about the program download the nomination form or contact Shane Bedwell, AHA chief operating officer and director of breed improvement.

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