Warringa Herefords recently attended the World Hereford Conference in Calgary . It was interesting that at the technical section of the Conference the various speakers including lecturers, scientists and researchers all agreed on the following matters affecting breeding of cattle throughout the world.
- Genomics – is not yet the “silver bullet” that was hoped for with genetic improvement. They believe there is some way to go before it is of benefit and reliable.
- Performance Recording – we heard reports from around the world of the importance and reliance Hereford breeders place on recording performance data and other objective information and its use through Breedplan, EBVs and similar performance recording systems. The experts were unanimous in their support for more information to be recorded to allow the choice of genetics to be made with more accuracy and reliability.
- It was interesting to hear that many time honored systems and assessments relating to beef cattle breeding had been reconsidered and still found to be just as appropriate and valuable today. Particularly in the area of docility. We heard speakers advise that their research had found that docility was a major factor in breeding. Docile cattle forage better, gain weight quicker, are more fertile and produce more beef. An added advantage is that they are easier to handle and are less likely to cause injury during handling. Having regard to the benefits of docility they were all unanimous in recommending the use of Herefords because of their reputation and history of being docile.
- We also heard of the $30 WHITEFACE ADVANTAGE that seems to be storming through North America and Canada. Dr. David Daley from California delivered a paper on the advantages of joining Angus cows to Hereford bulls and the immediate benefit of extra weight which proved to be approximately a $30.00 advantage through the cross breeding benefit alone. It was his view that the decision to use a Hereford bull over Angus females was “a no brainer”. It was also his view that Herefords have much to offer commercial beef breeders which included the cross breeding benefits of extra weight, fertility and docility.