More Hereford breeders and commercial users of Hereford genetics are discovering the feedlot and carcass performance of their genetics through various American Hereford Association (AHA) programs.
Currently, 94 participants from 22 states are feeding more than 1,400 head of Hereford and Hereford-influenced feeder cattle at HRC Feed Yards, Scott City, Kan. The numbers encompass the Hereford Feedout Program* and the National Junior Hereford Association (NJHA) Fed Steer Shootout**.
"Every year, we see increased interest in these programs from our members and their customers because of the value they find in benchmarking feedlot and carcass performance in their programs and then tracking subsequent performance relative to their benchmark," says Trey Befort, AHA director of commercial programs.
These cattle feeding opportunities enable participants to enroll a few head or entire pens of cattle. They receive ongoing updates about how their cattle are performing while on feed and then receive a collective summary of all cattle enrolled in the program to see how their cattle performed relative to the entire group.
"The value of this information and being more closely engaged with the cattle feeding sector has always been important. It is becoming invaluable as more cattle are channeled into specification-based, value-added areas of the supply chain," Befort says.
All participants can attend an annual educational field day at HRC Feed Yards, which delves into various aspects of the cattle markets, cattle feeding and beef packing. This year’s event is April 15.
NJHA members enrolled in the Fed Steer Shootout can partake of additional educational activities, including Beef Quality Assurance certification, as well as competitive opportunities, throughout the program.
"These programs provide value to those who have never fed their cattle before and those who do so on a routine basis," explains Bill Goehring, Libertyville, Iowa, AHA president — a Hereford breeder, commercial cow calf producer and sale barn owner and manager. "These programs are a convenient, cost-effective way for Hereford seedstock producers and their commercial customers to identify how their genetics perform in the feedlot and in the packinghouse. The data also adds increasing accuracy to the breed’s genetic evaluation."
*Hereford Feedout Program — participants enroll a minimum five head of same-sex (steer or heifer) cattle for feeding within a designated delivery period; participants can enroll whole-pen groups outside of the designated delivery period.
**NJHA Fed Steer Shootout — participants enroll individual steers or pens of three steers.