Growing Hereford Demand Leads to Many Increases

Jamie JohansenAgribusiness, Beef, Breeds, Cattle, Hereford

Hereford LogoFiscal year 2014 was a year of expansion and growth for the Hereford breed as commercial producers continue to find value and predictability in utilizing Hereford genetics.

“Record sale prices for bulls and females and increases in registrations, transfers and cows on inventory indicate the market is vibrant for Hereford genetics,” says Craig Huffhines, AHA executive vice president. “We’re excited about the increasing demand of Hereford genetics in the marketplace as well as the potential possible, as the current trend in the industry is expansion. As a breed, we are focused to produce the cattle that will meet the needs of the commercial industry.”

A total of 188 Hereford production sales were reported by American Hereford Association (AHA) field representatives during the fiscal year, which ended Aug. 31. Bull sales averaged $5,089, up nearly $400 per head, and females $4,637, up nearly $440 per head.

The second largest cattle breed in the U.S., Hereford reported 71,444 registrations (a 5.2% increase) and 40,295 transfers (a 12.1% increase) with 107,277 cows on inventory, up nearly 7%. The Association has 3,641 active adult members (a 4% increase) and 2,670 active junior members (a 7% increase).

Hereford semen use in the commercial industry is also increasing. According to the National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB), domestic Hereford semen sales increased 7% compared to last year. Hereford domestic semen sales have steadily increased since 2006, 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 13 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 drive progress by submitting ultrasound data, body condition scores, udder scores and cow weights, which all add to the integrity and accuracy of the AHA database.

The Association 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 7,945 with Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota and Oklahoma rounding out the top five.

The top five breeders by registration numbers were Upstream Ranch, Taylor, Neb., 1,019; Rausch Herefords, Hoven, S.D., 855; Stuber Ranch, Bowman, N.D., 463; Van Newkirk Herefords, Oshkosh, Neb., 439; and B&D Herefords, Claflin, Kan., 424.