Hereford Related Links:
South Dakota Hereford Association
North Dakota Hereford Association
General Cattle Links:
MN State Cattlemen's Association
National Cattlemen's Beef Association
History of Herefords:
Herefords are an ancient breed, kept in Herefordshire in western England for centuries. They gained their modern appearance around 1800 by crossing with cattle from Flanders. Originally, Herefords were large framed draught cattle, some weighing over 3,000 pounds. During the nineteenth century there was selective breeding for early maturity, which entailed a reduction in the size of the frame. The first herd book was published in 1846, and later adopted by the 'Hereford Herd Book Society', founded in 1878.
Hereford are medium framed cattle with distinctive red body color with the head and front of the neck, the brisket, underside, and switch in white. They have well developed fore-quarters, a deep brisket, broad head and stocky legs. Most animals have short thick horns that typically curve down at the sides of the head, but there is a polled strain in North America and UK (Polled Hereford).
Herefords are generally docile and fast growing cattle with good beef quality.
In overall economic importance, fertility is five times more important than the growth traits and ten times more important than carcass traits. Excellent fertility has always been a basic advantage of Herefords.
2. Size and Growth
Moderate, optimum-sized cows contribute to successfully operating in a low-cost feed situation. Extensive studies have shown that Frame 5 steers easily meet the ideal 1,000 to 1,200 lb. finished weights. The early growth and performance of Herefords is more important than mature weights or frame sizes that don't fit practical conditions.
3. Feed Conversion
Scientific research has proven the Hereford breed's ability to gain rapidly on less feed than their contemporaries. This feed conversion, coupled with fewer days on feed, means it costs less to feed Herefords to pay weight.
4. Quality and Consistency
These two factors, which are of ultimate importance to consumers, are driving the success of the Certified Hereford Beef® (CHB) program. CHB is meeting consumer demand while it builds stronger markets for Hereford seedstock.
5. Adaptability and Disposition
Gentle Herefords save dollars because they're easy to handle, tear up less equipment, and adapt well to just about any environment. Cattle with good dispositions just feed better and produce fewer dark cutters.
The quest for muscle in beef cattle is a trait selection that can easily stray from optimum. Higher feed costs can result from maintaining adequate levels of condition on cattle that are muscled above optimum levels. An extensive research project at Colorado State University identified Herefords and Hereford-cross cattle as moderate and optimum for muscling.
The baldy calves produced by Herefords consistently top markets all across the country. The economic advantage of the trademark white face is indisputable.
8. Performance Tested
The performance programs of the American Hereford Association build a strong, broad genetic base for boosting profits.
The Hereford cow knows her job. She's dependable in calving year after year, then she raises that calf to a thrifty market weight.
10. In Summary
Herefords are practical, profitable cattle. Add it up: Efficient gains, less time on feed, superior reproductive performance, efficient growth, carcass acceptability, adequate milk. Gentle disposition and adaptability.