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Hereford Influence Sells Strong

Hereford Influence Sells Strong

February 21, 2024

Bidding came fast at Mitchell Livestock Auction

Even considering strong demand and historically high prices for calves and feeder cattle this winter, the Hereford and Hereford-influenced sale at Mitchell Livestock Marketing in South Dakota Feb. 15 was a head-turner.

For instance, 63 head of straight Hereford steers weighing 663 pounds brought $320 per hundredweight (cwt.). Seventy-five Hereford steers weighing 716 pounds brought an average of $268.

Approximately 85% of the 4,471 head reported selling at Mitchell were Hereford or Hereford-influenced. Overall, steer calves and feeders weighing 550-900 pounds sold $3-$5 per cwt. higher week to week.

“They dollared up against any of the best black cattle in the world,” says Keith Fawcett of Fawcett’s Elm Creek Ranch, Ree Heights, S.D. “You’ve got to appreciate the buyers coming in and taking home what they and their customers want.”

Alongside Hereford steers and heifers, Hereford-sired black baldy and red baldy cattle met with strong demand. For instance, 73 red baldy steers weighing an average of 697 pounds brought an average of $265.50 and 61 black baldy steers weighing an average of 859 brought $242.25. “More ranches around here are seeing how the black baldies sell,” Fawcett says, explaining the growing demand for Hereford bulls to use on commercial black and red females.

“Demand for Hereford bulls in our area has really taken off in the last four or five years,” says Garin Haak of Knippling Herefords, Gann Valley, S.D. “We’ve got customers with closeouts who know their black baldies return $30-$40 more per head than their straight blacks. Heterosis is basically free pounds.” Besides many commercial Hereford cow-calf operations continuing in that direction he says more commercial black herds are adding Hereford bulls.

Fawcett’s Elm Creek Ranch and Knippling Herefords were among multi-year consignors to the Mitchell sale. They consigned the Hereford steers, respectively, mentioned at the outset. “Hereford cattle don’t give up anything to black cattle in the sale,” Haak emphasizes. “The Herefords at this sale dollar out with the blacks and baldies that sell at other sales.”

Relative to the regional market during other Hereford-influenced sales this winter, Aaron Friedt, regional representative for the American Hereford Association (AHA) says the latest Mitchell sale was the top one so far in terms of the number of bidders and prices paid.

In addition to the quality and breed type buyers sought, Friedt notes cattle at the sale were in the clean, light-fleshed condition buyers favor.

Jarrid Herrmann owns Mitchell Livestock Marketing, as well as Cherokee Sales Co. in Oklahoma. Both markets host Hereford and Hereford-influenced calf and feeder cattle sales. When adding the specials at Cherokee, Herman explained, “The reason we’re doing this Hereford-influenced sale is because we’ve had some exceptional sets of Herefords come through our barn. When they come through, they’re bell-ringers and can really go right up there with the best of the blacks.”

“Founders, supporters and organizers of the Hereford and Hereford-influenced sale at Mitchell have worked for years to establish the enviable following they have and the opportunity they provide both consignors and buyers,” says Trey Befort, AHA director of commercial programs. “Their success is one reason you see more Hereford-influenced sales taking place at auction barns in other parts of the country.”

More than 10,000 head sold in 20 Hereford and Hereford-influenced sales during AHA’s last fiscal year. Numbers will likely grow during the current fiscal year.


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 press releases and photos, visit Hereford.org/media.