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Hereford and Agnus Breeding and Marketing Debate Continues

07 December 2012

US - Differences in marketing strategy between the USA’s two largest breed organizations, Angus and Herefords, has developed into a debate about the merits of cross-breeding and straight -breeding.

The words 'bold' and 'new' were used to describe the Angus message of crossbreeding by Greg Henderson in a recent editorial in the of the US on-line Drovers Cattle Network.

Mr Henderson's editorial caused upset from Hereford Association Cheif Executive Officer, Craig Huffhines, when the Drovers editor contrastingly described the Hereford message as 'traditional'.

“I’m not sure if there are any genetic-selection decisions made today that are ‘bold’ and ‘new’ — the Hereford and Angus breeds have been in existence in America since the early 1800s," said Mr Huffhines of the Hereford Association.

However, there is plenty to talk about when it comes to how the two breeds have been and should continue to be used as tools to complement one another in a profitable beef system."

Craig Huffhines has claimed that indisputable scientific research within the animal science community has documented the advantages of crossbreeding, and the American Hereford Association has replicated scientific results in recent years supporting the historic findings.

“Studies conducted at some of the premier commercial ranches in the country have defined the economic advantages of crossbreeding with Hereford and, in particular, the advantage a baldy feeder steer and his replacement heifer mate carry in comparison to their straight-bred Angus counterparts,” said Mr Huffhines.

“The recent studies with Lacey Land and Livestock, Harris Ranch, Circle A Ranch and Simplot Livestock Co. have reaffirmed what has already long been known but would be foolish to dismiss during these extreme times of drought, input cost volatility and short cattle supplies”.

It is the belief of Mr Huffhines that Angus Association crossbreeding focuses on maximising production while the industry has changed to a value-based market scene. He conclded that Heterosis is important when the breed encounters difficulties conditions.

"The fact that the Hereford breed is making such a resurgent comeback is testament to a response by the commercial sector to rethink its genetic-selection strategy to address the issues that a tough environment has placed on single-breed selection."

"It is also a testament to the advances the Hereford breed has made in the last decade in breed improvement," Mr Huffhines added.

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