Cattle Today

Cattle Today



Kansas City, Mo. — Prices paid for both Hereford bulls and females increased dramatically during the 2005-06 American Hereford Association (AHA) fiscal year (Sept. 1-Aug. 31), pointing to the growing demand for Hereford efficiency in conversion, hardiness, fertility, longevity and disposition.

In sales reported in the Hereford World, the AHA's official publication, the average bull price increased 8.4 percent from $2,894 last year to $3,137 this year, while the female average grew by a remarkable 25.4 percent from $2,362 to $2,962. Combined, the bulls and females brought $412 more per head on 2,895 more animals.

“The AHA finds itself in a strong, viable position within the seedstock industry,” says Craig Huffhines, AHA executive vice president. “The economics have been excellent for Hereford breeders, as prices for bulls and females steadily rise and as the market share for Hereford genetics takes on new heights this decade.”

Even though prices are rising, commercial customers can be confident that Hereford still means value. The fertility and rugged structure of the Hereford bull provides for extra years of breeding power, reducing annual bull purchases. On an Angus cow, his F1 son commands top dollar in the sale barn and feedlot, and his daughter excels in temperament and mothering ability. She produces year after year, and with hybrid vigor delivers more pounds of marketable product.

This “Hereford-influenced” value continues to grow, as producers increasingly submit data for the betterment of the breed. The AHA year-end numbers demonstrated breeder commitment to progress in carcass traits, with an 86.9 percent jump in reported ultrasound measurements (backfat, ribeye area and intramuscular fat) over the past five years.

Registrations, transfers, cow inventory and memberships were also noted at the year's end. Despite drought conditions, Huffhines says the stats show a “steady, stable trend” for the Hereford breed.

As the second largest breed association in the U.S., the AHA reported 69,344 registrations, 34,352 transfers and a cow inventory of 106,120 head. Contributing to these numbers were 3,462 adult members and 2,283 junior members.

The top 10 states for registrations in descending order were Texas, Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Missouri, Montana, Illinois, Idaho and Georgia.

Rausch Herefords, Hoven, S.D., came in with the most individual registrations at 709 head, followed by Harper Cattle LLC, Arlington, Texas, 662; Upstream Ranch, Taylor, Neb., 507; Grandview Plantation, Como, Miss., 476; BB Cattle Co., Connell, Wash., 425; Shaw Cattle Co. Inc., Caldwell, Idaho, 417; Dudley Bros., Comanche, Texas, 363; Colin Hoffman, Leola, S.D., 352; Jim W. Douthit, St. Francis, Kansas, 345; and Star Lake Cattle Ranch, Skiatook, Okla., 341.

On the retail side of the Hereford business, Certified Hereford Beef (CHB) LLC reported sales of 37.9 million lb. of CHB® from 258,626 certified carcasses.

“CHB is now a veteran in the branded beef arena,” says Rob Ames, CHB LLC executive vice president. “Last year was about refreshing those elements of our marketing program that speak to the consumer and diversifying into food service.”

Hereford Verified, the AHA and CHB LLC traceable program for Hereford-influenced calves, harvested its first cattle during the 2005-06 fiscal year (5,614 head). CHB LLC has awarded bonuses of $11,228 to producers who didn't have to retain ownership to get data and money back on their calves.

Looking to the future, Huffhines says, “The AHA is positioning itself to continue to add value to the commercial industry through significant investment in feed efficiency and hybrid vigor research.”

Over the next few years, the AHA will document the economics of using Hereford genetics on Angus-based cow herds. “We know the advantages hybrid vigor delivers,” Huffhines says. “And we're going to document them in ‘real-world' commercial operations, to quickly prove to those who are not using Hereford bulls that they are leaving a lot on the table.”

The complete AHA Annual Report will be distributed at the Annual Meeting, Oct. 23, in Kansas City, Mo. The meeting is at the Westin Crown Center and is open to the public. For more information, contact Mary Ellen Hummel at (816) 842-3757.


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