Herefords in demand: Sales increase in numbers, prices

Sep 23, 2011
by WLJ

Hereford breeders continued to experience increased demand for Hereford genetics during the 2011 American Hereford Association (AHA) fiscal year that ended Aug. 31. AHA experienced a dramatic increase in production sale prices while reports of private-treaty sales were the highest in years.

A total of 165 Hereford production sales were reported by AHA field representatives this fiscal year. Bull sales averaged $3,937, up nearly $700, and females, $3,033, up almost $500 per head. These increases were also multiplied by about 1,300 more lots sold than last year.

The second largest cattle breed in the U.S., Hereford reports 65,000 registrations and 36,903 transfers with 97,581 cows on inventory. AHA has 3,406 active adult members and 2,285 active junior members.

Hereford breeders continue to recognize the advantages of artificial insemination (AI). Since 2003, the number of AI calves registered has increased by 34.1 percent. Embryo transfer is also gaining popularity, increasing 77 percent since 2003.

Hereford semen demand in the commercial industry is also increasing. According to the National Association of Animal Breeders, Hereford semen sales increased 17 percent over last year, compared to the beef industry total which increased a mere 2 percent.

Helping with this progress in the commercial industry has been AHA’s Whole Herd Total Performance Records (TPR™) program. Now 10 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.

“Despite a 500-year drought in a large portion of the U.S., we are excited that Hereford registrations and cow numbers have remained steady,” says Craig Huffhines, AHA executive vice president. “This is certainly testament to the fact that the demand for Hereford seedstock has doubled the last five years.”

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 7,997, with Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Kansas rounding out the top five.

The top five breeders by registration numbers were Rausch Herefords, Hoven, SD, 838; Upstream Ranch, Taylor, NE, 659; W4 Ranch, Morgan, TX, 564; Jamison Herefords, Quinter, KS, 374; and Star Lake Cattle Ranch, Skiatook, OK, 368. — WLJ