Over 9,000 pedigree Hereford calves are registered each year, which is up nearly 50 per cent compared to 10 years ago, while more than 185,000 Hereford sired progeny are recorded annually, up almost 90 percent in the same period.
This rise in both pedigree and commercial use of the Hereford comes as beef producers increasingly realise the value of the breed in maintaining a sustainable system in terms of management, profitability and the environment.
Hereford are the first pedigree beef breed to conduct both a sustainability research project and carbon audit under the guidance of Dr Liz Genever which will help formulate the breed strategy over the coming decade.
Beef producers are turning to the Hereford due to feed efficiency. Within the UK, Hereford cattle are the most used breed within pasture-only systems and will play an important role in grazing systems, while helping damaged and depleted soils. This ability sits alongside the need to reduce inputs, such as feed, fertiliser and fuel helping systems’ financial viability, particularly as the UK subsidy system evolves.
These inputs are the biggest contributors to beef producer’s carbon footprints, so their reduction needs to be the focus of future beef-producing systems. Hereford cattle have a strong track record in these low input, high output systems.
Thriving on grass and forage systems, the Hereford breed is in a very strong position to be a key part of sustainable beef production, helping to increase the carbon and water stored in soils, while improving the financial viability of businesses and the wellbeing of those who work within them.
The Hereford does it all
The Hereford does it all, whether that’s in the dairy herd as a terminal sire or suckler cow, these adaptable cattle can work for you. The Hereford is recognised across the world as an efficient, hardy and productive animal.
Herefords are the sire of choice for many dairy farmers. Good fertility, ease of calving and longevity means you get value out of your bull.
The breed quality well-suited to any commercial suckler herd is either a terminal sire, or suckler cow while also holding its own in finishing operations.
Feature supplied by The Hereford Cattle Society - BCBC would like to thank The Hereford Cattle Society for their support of the 75th Annual Conference 2023