Demand for Hereford genetics rising genetics
Hereford genetics are becoming increasingly popular. According to the National Association of Animal Breeders’ (NAAB) report and ABS Global semen sale reports U.S. Hereford semen sales increased 8.4 percent in 2008 despite an overall drop in domestic semen sales for beef cattle. Sales of Hereford semen rose 39.3 percent in foreign countries, well above the overall increase of all breeds at 21.67 percent, according to the 2008 data from NAAB.
“Hereford semen sales have been extremely good,” says ABS Global Beef Sire Acquisition Manager Lorna Marshall. “Our Hereford sales are up about 20 percent this year, and Hereford has been our fastest-growing breed the last three years.”
Marshall attributes much of this growing demand for Hereford semen to the cattleman’s need for heterosis. “As we’ve seen the nation’s cow herd become more straightbred, we’ve certainly heard from some our commercial customers that they’ve experienced reduced fertility as we’ve moved away from a cow herd that has some heterosis in it to more of a straightbred cow.”
She says at ABS Global, they’ve seen more interest in crossbreeding and she thinks Herefords are a sensible choice. “We are in a new world with higher input costs and higher feed costs,” Marshall says. “People are looking at how to make a super efficient momma cow. And I think that has always been one of the strengths of Hereford cattle: they are low input, highly efficient cattle that cross well on Angus.”
ABS Global currently has 18 Hereford bulls to choose from in its bull battery. Marshall says that for the first time during her 13-year tenure with ABS, there are two Hereford bulls in the company’s top 25 beef bulls for semen sales.— WLJ