The numbers speak for themselves. Genetic improvement and superior genetic ability are alive and well in Hereford cattle.
For 2015, 2,385 Hereford cows from 646 Hereford performance herds in 40 states earned the honor of being named a Dam of Distinction by the American Hereford Association (AHA).
For 35 years, Rausch Herefords, Hoven, S.D., has led Hereford breeders with the most cows qualifying as Dams of Distinction. With 427 cows recognized, South Dakota is the top state again this year.
The 2015 Dams of Distinction list honors the Hereford breed’s cows that meet the highest standard of production and recognizes the cattlemen who produce them. In order to be named a Dam of Distinction, a Hereford cow must meet all the job requirements for an ideal cow. She should produce a healthy, growthy calf every year; she should calve as a 2-year-old, and she should cause her owner absolutely no problems. A Dam of Distinction is the standard by which all Hereford cows can be judged.
The cow must do her job, but also her owner must manage the herd correctly to give her the opportunity to excel. Only a small portion of active cows is recognized. All heifers have the potential of being a Dam of Distinction, but only a small percentage fit the job description of an ideal cow year in and year out.
In order for a cow to be named a 2015 Dam of Distinction she must have:
1) Weaned a calf born since Jan. 1, 2014.
2) Produced at least three calves.
3) Initially calved at 30 months of age or less.
4) Had an interval between the first and second calves of no greater than 400 days. In addition, a 370-day calving interval must have been maintained after her second calf. The longer initial calving interval allows breeders to calve 2-year-old heifers prior to the mature cow herd.
5) Every calf produced that was born before June 30, 2015, must have weaning records submitted to the Hereford Performance Program.
6) A progeny average 205-day adjusted weaning weight ratio of at least 105.
For more information about the Dams of Distinction Program visit Hereford.org/seedstock/dams-distinction. Females attaining the Dams of Distinction status are recognized with “DOD” after their names on the AHA website.
Sires of Distinction
Also recognized are Sires of Distinction. The Sires of Distinction program recognizes superior Hereford bulls. The AHA Board of Directors initiated the program in August 2007 to recognize Hereford bulls that sire efficient, fertile and productive females. To be honored as a Sire of Distinction a bull must have produced daughters that have received at least seven Dams of Distinction awards.
Bulls attaining the Sire of Distinction status are recognized with “SOD” after their names when doing an animal or EPD inquiry at Hereford.org/seedstock/sire-distinction-0.
An article reviewing the 2015 Dams of Distinction will be published in the April issue of the Hereford World magazine. The top 10 states and top 20 breeders of Dams of Distinction are listed below.
Top 10 States
Rank State Dams
1 South Dakota 427
2 Nebraska 294
3 Kansas 240
4 Montana 136
5 Missouri 127
6 North Dakota 123
7 Idaho 109
8 Texas 94
9 Minnesota 74
10 Wyoming 70
Top 20 Breeders
Rank Owner No. of Dams
1 Rausch Herefords, Hoven, S.D. 145
2 Van Newkirk Herefords, Oshkosh, Neb. 38
3 Shaw Cattle Co. Inc., Caldwell, Idaho 29
4 MM Ranches, Chanute, Kan. 28
5 Elkington Polled Herefords, Idaho Falls, Idaho 26
6 Duvall Polled Herefords, Lockwood, Mo. 24
6 VJS Polled Herefords, Hays, Kan. 24
8 Oleen Bros., Dwight, Kan. 22
8 Ridder Hereford Ranch, Callaway, Neb 22
10 Monahan Cattle Co., Hyannis, Neb. 21
10 O.R. Perkes, Etna, Wyo. 21
12 Feddes Herefords, Manhattan, Mont. 20
12 Upstream Ranch, Taylor, Neb. 20
14 Richard & Shirley Thomas, Gold Creek, Mont. 19
14 Bar JZ Polled Herefords, Holabird, S.D. 19
16 Harrell Hereford Ranch, Baker City, Ore. 18
16 Falling Timber Farm, Marthasville, Mo. 18
18 Alfred Schutte & Sons, Guide Rock, Neb. 17
18 Hillsview Farms, Eureka, S.D . 17
18 Thorstenson Hereford Ranch, Selby, S.D. 17
18 Topp Herefords, Grace City, N.D. 17
Material on BEEF Briefing Room comes directly from company news releases. Source: American Hereford Association