Hereford Demand Continues to Increase
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Despite drought and escalating costs in the beef industry, Hereford breed demand continues to increase as production sale averages increased $500 during fiscal year 2013. Hereford breeders continue to experience a dramatic increase in production sale prices and reports of private-treaty sales continue to out-pace the previous year reports.
A total of 171 Hereford production sales were reported by American Hereford Association (AHA) field representatives this fiscal year, which ended Aug. 31. Bull sales averaged $4,763, up nearly $92 and females $4,202, up almost $873 per head. The second largest cattle breed in the U.S., Hereford reports 67,930 registrations and 35,957 transfers with 100,494 cows on inventory. The Association has 3,507 active adult members and 2,490 active junior members.
“Hereford demand continues to climb as referenced by record sale prices for bulls and females during fiscal year 2013,” says Craig Huffhines, AHA executive vice president. “AHA experienced a near 5% increase in membership, further evidence of the popularity in the Hereford breed.”
Hereford semen demand in the commercial industry is also increasing. According to the National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB), domestic Hereford semen sales increased 2% compared to last year and export sales increased 31%. Since 2006 Hereford domestic semen sales have increased 90% a testament to the increasing demand for Hereford genetics in the commercial industry.
Helping with this progress in the commercial sector has been the AHA’s Whole Herd Total Performance Records (TPR™) program. Now 12 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 of this commitment to data collection a new udder quality EPD (expected progeny difference) was released during fiscal year 2013.
This fiscal year AHA continued to offer genomic-enhanced EPDs (GE-EPDs) with updated correlations that more than doubled the predictive power for some traits. The AHA’s approach was to work with the National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium (NBCEC) to develop a Hereford-specific panel, utilize GeneSeek Inc. to run the high-density (HD) panels and produce molecular breeding values (MBVs) to incorporate the genomic information, phenotypes and pedigree information into the national cattle evaluation (NCE) to produce GE-EPDs.
“The AHA’s genomic approach utilizes new genotype platforms and computing techniques to boost the predictive accuracy of breeding value for younger animals,” Huffhines says. “The mission of the AHA has always been to document the pedigree and performance information of Hereford seedstock in order to create economic improvement for the commercial beef industry. This approach is very important to both the AHA and the commercial cattle industry in that it allows the AHA to continually improve the predictive value of EPDs so that both seedstock producers and commercial cattlemen can make more reliable breeding decisions with less risk.”
The Association has also continued to focus its research on feed efficiency as well as a multi-year project with Simplot Livestock Co. that is documenting the benefits of using Hereford sires in a large-scale, predominately Angus heifer program.
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 7,820 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., 945; Shaw Cattle Co. Inc., Caldwell, Idaho, 776; Upstream Ranch, Taylor, Neb., 451; Van Newkirk Herefords, Oshkosh, Neb., 443; and Alexander Mih, M-M Ranch Polled Herefords, Chanute, Kan., 394.
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 (CHB) LLC, Hereford Publications Inc. (HPI) and American Beef Records Association (ABRA) — 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.