Hereford demand continues to grow

News
Sep 17, 2010
by WLJ

Hereford breeders continued to experience an increased demand for Hereford genetics during the 2010 American Hereford Association (AHA) fiscal year that ended Aug. 31. The association experienced an increase in registrations and membership as production sale prices increased for both bulls and females.

The second largest cattle breed in the U.S., Hereford reports 64,907 registrations and 34,767 transfers with 101,677 cows on inventory. The association has 3,441 active adult members and 2,244 active junior members.

A total of 161 Hereford production sales were reported by AHA field representatives this fiscal year.

Bull sales averaged $3,261 and females $2,587. Across the board, Herefords averaged $97 more per lot on 9,573 total lots reported.

Hereford breeders continue to recognize the advantages of artificial insemination (AI). Since 2003, the number of AI calves registered has increased by 29 percent. Hereford semen demand in the commercial industry is also increasing. According to the National Association of Animal Breeders, Hereford semen sales increased 14 percent in 2009, despite an overall decrease in domestic beef semen sales.

Helping with this progress in the commercial industry has been the AHA’s Whole Herd Total Performance Records program.

Now nine years old, the program has helped 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.

“The year-end figures are very exciting considering the state of the economy and the decreasing national cow herd size,” says Craig Huffhines, AHA executive vice president. “The economy, the cost of production, heterosis, animal welfare and human welfare are all ‘hot button’ issues the industry is facing in 2010.”

To prepare to meet industry challenges, the AHA Board of Directors and eight advisors met in April for a strategic planning session to discuss and establish goals and objectives for the association. In August, the board approved seven core strategies and corresponding objectives for the future.

The seven new core strategies are:

1. Improve the overall quality, consistency, predictability and profitability of Hereford genetics.

2. Build strategic alliances.

3. Continue to grow the Certified Hereford Beef® program.

4. Increase investment in member and customer education and service.

5. Increase focus of communicating the profitability advantage of Hereford genetics.

6. Grow non-traditional revenue.

7. Cultivate the growth and development of juniors and young breeders.

“The initiatives and tactics approved by the board will be our roadmap for the future as we strive to meet the needs of the commercial cattleman,” Huffhines says.

Also noted at the fiscal year’s end are top registrations by state and by breed er.

Texas topped the list of registrations per state at 7,858 with Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas and Oklahoma rounding out the top five. — WLJ

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