Hereford breeders continued to experience increased demand for Hereford genetics during the 2009 American Hereford Association (AHA) fiscal year that ended Aug. 31. The Association experienced an increase in registrations and membership as production sale prices remained consistent with previous years.
The second largest cattle breed in the U.S., Hereford reports 64,293 registrations and 31,747 transfers with 103,093 cows on inventory. The Association has 3,434 active adult members and 2,256 active junior members — both an increase compared to fiscal year 2008.
“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. “Hereford breeders continue to see a shift in demand as more and more commercial producers are realizing the benefits of heterosis and incorporating Hereford genetics in their breeding programs.”
To aid in this shift, AHA continues to participate in real-world research projects that validate the value of Hereford genetics. In April, results of the Circle A Ranch Heterosis Project were released that documented Hereford-sired females have a 7% advantage in conception rate, net income of $51 more per cow per year and a significantly higher selling price for bred heifers when compared to straight-Angus females. For more about the Circle A project and other research projects visit Hereford.org.
Hereford breeders continue to recognize the advantages of artificial insemination (AI). Since 2003, the number of AI calves registered has increased by 33%. Hereford semen demand in the commercial industry is also increasing. According to the National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB), Hereford semen sales increased 8.4% in 2008, despite an overall decrease in domestic beef semen sales.
Helping with this progress has been the AHA’s Whole Herd Total Performance Records (TPR™) program. Now nine years old, the program has helped the 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.
A total of 164 Hereford production sales were reported by AHA fieldmen this fiscal year. Bull sales averaged $3,194 and females $2,811.
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 8,707 with Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota and Oklahoma rounding out the top five.
The top five breeders by registration numbers were W4 Ranch, Morgan, Texas, with 742 head; Rausch Herefords, Hoven, S.D., 643; Upstream Ranch, Taylor, Neb., 594; Imig Herefords, Lakeside, Neb., 469; and Star Lake Cattle Ranch, Skiatook, Okla., 406.