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Herefords Making Comeback With Quality and Data

Herefords Making Comeback With Quality and Data
Huge increases in Hereford registrations coordinate with improved-accuracy genetic tools.

The American Hereford Association says registrations were up more than 8% during the 2012 fiscal year that ended August 31. Further, registered Hereford cow inventories are up 3% compared with the previous year — with more than 101,000 females reported this fiscal year.

The AHA says Hereford breeders continue to experience a dramatic increase in production sale prices while reports of private-treaty sales continue to out-pace the previous year reports.

A total of 182 Hereford production sales were reported by AHA field representatives this fiscal year. Bull sales averaged $4,671, up nearly $700 and females $3,329, up almost $300 per head.

Huge increases in Hereford registrations coordinate with improved-accuracy genetic tools.

Hereford is the second most numerous cattle breed in the nation. The AHA reports 70,260 registrations and 37,091 transfers. The AHA has 3,455 active adult members and 2,263 active junior members.

Hereford semen demand in the commercial industry is also increasing, the association says. According to the National Association of Animal Breeders records, Hereford semen sales increased 23% over last year. Since 2006 Hereford domestic semen sales has increased 86%.

AHA says its Whole Herd Total Performance Records program has played a role in this expansion. That program is now 11 years old. It helped the AHA and Hereford breeders build a database that documents the breed's strengths says Craig Huffhines, AHA executive vice president.

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 the AHA Board of Directors placed a resource emphasis on breed improvement and industry research, the Hereford breed now has the single largest database for cow fertility and productivity in the world, and we have documented the inherent economic traits in the breed that can deliver efficiency to the industry at a time when the industry needs it most," Huffines says.

He adds that Hereford data has encouraged commercial producers to use Herefords to add hybrid vigor to their Angus cow herds.

"Today, the Hereford breed is poised to provide as much value to the commercial industry as any other breed with its combination advantages of fertility, feed efficiency, good disposition and an end product that will complement a vast array of quality beef programs across the country," Huffines says

AHA also recently released genomic-enhanced expected progeny differences. The AHA genomic approach is the first of its kind to work with the scientific community and the National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium to build its own training and validation population. This approach is important because AHA now has access to all of the genotypes, phenotypes and pedigrees, which will allow the Association and its members to continue to train and build the Hereford-specific panel, Huffines says.

States with the top registrations are, from number 1 to number 5: Texas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma.

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