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
outpace the previous-year reports.
A total of 171 Hereford production sales were reported by
American Hereford Association field representatives this fiscal year, which
ended Aug. 31. Sales averaged $4,763 for bulls, up nearly $92, and $4,202 for
females, 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
“Hereford demand continues to climb as referenced by record
sale prices for bulls and females during fiscal year 2013,” said Craig
Huffhines, AHA executive vice president. “ AHA
experienced a near 5-percent increase in membership, further evidence of the
popularity in the Hereford breed.”
Hereford semen demand in the commercial industry also is
increasing. According to the National Association of Animal Breeders, domestic
Hereford semen sales increased 2 percent compared to last year and export sales
increased 31 percent.
Since 2006, Hereford domestic semen sales have increased 90
percent, a testament to the increasing demand for Hereford genetics in the
Helping with this progress in the commercial sector has been
the AHA’s Whole Herd Total Performance Records 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 was
released during fiscal year 2013.
This fiscal year, AHA continued to offer genomic-enhanced
Expected Progeny Differences 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 to develop a Hereford-specific panel, utilize GeneSeek
Inc. to run the high-density panels and produce molecular breeding values to
incorporate the genomic information, phenotypes and pedigree information into
the national cattle evaluation 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 said. “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 also has 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.