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The stakes have never been higher to create VALUE and EFFICIENCY throughout the production system. In the past decade, Hereford has documented dramatic improvements in calving ease, weaning and yearling performance and end product merit. The Spring 2015 Hereford Pan-American Cattle Evaluation (PACE) documents consistent improvements in all traits of economic importance. From 2004 to 2014, AHA Genetic Trends indicate a 14% reduction in birth weights, 20% improvement in weaning and yearling performance and a 30% improvement in end product merit.
Data is power and Hereford is leading the industry in genetic technology. In 2001, AHA implemented Whole Herd Total Performance Records (TPR), which has helped AHA and Hereford breeders build the largest database in the industry for lifetime cow productivity. In an era when “sustainable agriculture” is the new buzzword, the Hereford breed stands poised to deliver on those traits that will sustain the profitability of the commercial industry.
DNA testing technology continues to evolve, giving Hereford breeders even more predictive power when making genetic decisions. The AHA has taken a very scientific approach by collaborating with some of the brightest animal geneticists in the country to develop Hereford-specific genomic-enhanced expected progeny differences (GE-EPDs) through the national cattle evaluation (NCE). By blending pedigree, phenotypes and now genetic information, the Association has the ability to predict the breeding value of young unproven animals with new accuracy levels that equates to an animal having between three to eight progeny on record.
Two recent, large-scale research projects have documented the value of Hereford genetics in the commercial industry. Calves sired by Hereford bulls have a $30 per head documented advantage in feedlot profitability and 7% advantage in fertility when compared to Angus-sired calves. This advantage was documented during a three-year, real-world commercial heterosis project comparing progeny by Hereford and Angus bulls when crossed on Angus-based cows. The study also documented a maternal advantage of 7% higher pregnancy rate when comparing the Hereford-sired females to Angus-sired females.
Another project with Simplot Livestock Co. proved low birth weight Hereford bulls stacked up to Angus-heifer bulls in calving ease when bred to Angus first-calf heifers. This project will continue to follow the calves through weaning, finishing and harvest and track results of the Hereford-sired calves versus the Angus-sired calves.