Can ne 1 tell me interesting facts about the polled hereford

Help Support CattleToday:

The Murray Grey is a wonderful breed. They generally have small birth weight calves that grow off well, gentle dispositions, they make good mothers, and make beef that is second to none.Murray Grey Bulls are an excellent choice for the commercial breeder because they will dehorn your calves,add milk to the herd, and essentially eliminate birthing problems.not only that,they have pretty calves as well.

Taken From the AHA

Hereford Heritage

The Hereford breed of beef cattle was established near Hereford, county of Herefordshire, England, nearly 300 years ago as a product of necessity. Thrifty, enterprising British farmers were seeing the need to produce beef for the expanding food market created by Britain's industrial revolution. To successfully meet this growing demand, these early-day cattlemen needed cattle which could efficiently convert native grasses to beef, and do it at a profit.

No breed at that time could fill that need, so the farmers of Herefordshire developed and founded the breed that logically became known as Herefords. These early Hereford breeders molded their cattle with the goals of high beef yields and efficient production. They so solidly fixed these traits that they remain today as outstanding characteristics of the breed. Cattle with the trade-mark white faces and distinctive red bodies are instantly recognized world-wide as a time-tested, reliable source of profitable beef cattle genetics.

Benjamin Tomkins is credited with being a primary founder of the Hereford breed. He began in 1742 with a bull calf from the cow Silver and two cows, Pidgeon and Mottle, inherited from his father's estate. This was 18 years before Robert Bakewell began developing his theories of animal breeding. Tomkins' goals were economy in feeding, natural ability to grow and gain on grass and grain, rustling ability, hardiness, early maturity and high rates of reproduction‹traits that are still of primary importance today.

Other pioneering breeders followed Tomkins' lead and established the world-wide reputation for these Herefordshire cattle, thus causing their exportation from England to wherever grass grows and beef production is possible.

Herefords in the 1700s and early 1800s in England were much larger than today's. Many mature Herefords of those days weighed 3,000 lb. or more when displayed in 1839. Gradually, the type and conformation changed to less extreme size and weight in order to get more quality and efficiency. Today's Herefords are optimum sized to produce slaughter cattle that fit industry demand. weighing in the 1,000 to 1,200-lb. range.

United States Importations

Herefords came to the U.S. in 1817 when statesman Henry Clay of Kentucky made the first importation of a bull and two females. These cattle and their offspring attracted considerable attention, but they were eventually absorbed by the local cattle population and disappeared from permanent identity.

The first breeding herd in America is considered to be one established in 1840 by William H. Sotham and Erastus Corning of Albany, N.Y., and for practical purposes Herefords in the U.S. date from the Sotham-Corning beginning. The more densely populated eastern area of the U.S., including herds in New England, was the early home of Herefords. From there they fanned out to the South, Midwest and West as population expanded and demand for beef increased.

Several breeders were active in exhibiting at fairs and exhibitions in the East and Midwest where the Herefords met with great success. Records from the 1844 New York State Fair show that 11 Herefords were exhibited there and were "highly praised." Perhaps the greatest early interest in the breed came from the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia where T.L. Miller was awarded a medal for the first-prize herd.

The Great Improvers

With the end of the Civil War and the coming of the American Industrial Revolution, the westward expansion continued and so did America's appetite for beef. Western ranching developed from the longhorned cattle originally brought to Mexico by the Spanish conquerors and allowed to drift northward into what is now America's southwestern cattle country. These cattle were tough and had the bred-in ability to survive, a trait that enabled their being driven to railhead shipping points and then transported by rail to slaughter at eastern markets. It was on such cattle that Herefords proved to be the "great improvers." They survived the rough ranching conditions and improved beef quality in the process. Demand for Hereford bulls as breeding stock boomed.

Demand Creates Increased Importations

To satisfy the growing market, Hereford breeders expanded their herds through heavy importation from Herefordshire. While only 200 head were imported up to 1880, more than 3,500 Herefords came over during the 1880-1889 period. During this time, Hereford breeders led by T.L. Miller, C.M. Culbertson and Thomas Clark, all of Illinois, won hard-fought battles for breed acceptance in the agricultural fairs and expositions which furthered the use of Herefords in American beef production.

Early Hereford breeders, promoters and exhibitors in the 1870s and 1880s included such names as Earl, Stuart, Fowler, Van Natta and Studebaker of Indiana and the Swan Land and Cattle Co. of Wyoming. These breeders were instrumental in the movement of Herefords to the western mountain states and the Northwest. Gudgell and Simpson of Missouri made their start in 1877. Four years later they were to gain everlasting renown in the Hereford world through importing and concentrating on the young sire named Anxiety 4. This bull is credited as being the "father of American Herefords," and is the common ancestor in nearly all Hereford cattle in the U.S.

The Hereford industry in America passed a great milestone of progress on June 22, 1881, when a few breeders met in Chicago at the Grand Pacific Hotel to lay the foundation for the organization of the American Hereford Association (AHA), essentially for the two-fold purpose of keeping the breed's records and promoting the interests of Hereford breeders.

In 1898, Warren Gammon, an Iowa cattleman and lawyer, happened to see an exhibit of naturally hornless Herefords at the Trans-Mississippi World's Fair in Omaha, Neb. He set about to "fix" the hornless trait using the bull Giant and 11 females. From his efforts came the development of the American Polled Hereford Association (APHA). This association maintained ancestral and performance records on Polled Herefords until the merger of the APHA and AHA in 1995.

The AHA now registers all horned and polled Herefords. The breed has adapted and flourished in every region of America and, as evidenced by the white-faces seen coast to coast, has become the greatest influence in the nation's beef production.

Hereford Domination

It was largely through shows and expositions that Herefords gained great acceptance among cattlemen in this country. The first great impact was scored at the 1883 Chicago Fat Stock Show, the forerunner of the famous International Livestock Exposition which, until closing after the 1975 event, was the premier show for market animals in America. At this show more than a century ago, the Hereford steer Roan Boy won the grand championship for his exhibitor, C.M. Culbertson. The steer's early maturity marked the beginning of the end for the previously popular four-year-old steers. In 1886, a two-year-old Hereford was grand champion and in 1903 Hereford yearlings won the carlot grand championship. Three years later, a 336-day-old Hereford won the show, the first ever at less than two years of age.

Thus, Herefords led the way in revolutionizing beef production in America, largely through the traits of doing ability and early maturity‹being market-ready at an early age and producing the ideal in "baby beef." While other traits in beef cattle continued to be important in breeders' selection programs through the ensuing years, there is no doubt that early maturity and finishing ability were of primary concern because (1) the market paid the highest price for cattle that fattened well on forage; thus (2) the preferred breeding animals were those that demonstrated the ability to finish readily at a given age.

To get to this early maturity, breeders in the late 1930s and 1940s sought out the compact type of conformation‹short, low set, wide and deep-bodied cattle‹as their preferred breeding stock. By today's standards, such cattle were naturally smaller. Their success in achieving such an animal with its abundance of fat and establishing that kind as a breed ideal eventually proved to be a detriment. The market changes that surfaced in the 1960s caused such cattle to be penalized in price.

Hereford Type Changes

Following World War II and well into the 1950s, the compact, fatter type cattle continued to be favored in the showring, but there was a change taking place in the meat-packing industry and in the basic American diet which reflected on the demand and price of the favored kind of cattle up to that time. The commercial market for fat (beef tallow) had declined, plus consumers were unwilling to buy the excess fat on cuts from over-finished carcasses. The result was that beef packers paid less for the overfat cattle and now a different type of animal was preferred by the industry. Demand was growing for a trimmer, leaner, more heavily muscled kind of cattle. The once-preferred wide-backed, overfat cattle were heavily docked in the market.

This change in market preference was publicly expressed in Hereford circles at a conference in Denver in 1963, voiced more loudly in 1967 and was conclusively demonstrated at a conference in 1969. Economics in cost of production required (1) faster daily gain at less cost and (2) increased conversion of feed to muscle instead of fat. These requirements translated to more size and a different type of conformation, which in turn, presented breeders with a tremendous challenge to modernize the breed and turn it into a new kind of Hereford endowed with all the basic economical traits for total performance, with no trait achieved at the expense of another.

The 1960s saw the beginning of acceptance of the performance era in the Hereford world. Breeders began giving concentrated attention toward applying new-found tools such as performance testing, artificial insemination, objective measures, embryo transfer and sire evaluation. This has caused more rapid genetic change in the past 25 years than perhaps had been accomplished previously since Benjamin Tomkins undertook his systematic efforts to make better beef cattle from his native Herefords.

Hereford breeders have consistently been industry leaders in their quest for supplying the genetic material demanded by the commercial cattle producer. They led the way in national sire testing and evaluation, national cattle evaluations and sire summaries, within-herd performance testing and the use of technology to provide maximum services. Millions of animal records are on computer files in the AHA's Kansas City headquarters, maintained there to assist in genetic improvements for generations to come.

Accomplishing this objective in a relatively short time is a great tribute to the dedication of Hereford breeders, the broad genetic base of the breed and the ability of breeders to use modern technology and selection tools, such as Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) along with practical application of the breeder's art. EPD calculations now encompass all Herefords from across North America.

This extensive data base proved to be particularly valuable in the 1960s. The latter part of this decade found breeders faced with evidence that too many cattle did not have the growth and size potential found in some of the European "exotic" breeds to meet feeder and packer demand. Faced with this competition, Hereford breeders sought out the bloodlines which had cattle noted for substantial size and performance.

It was fortunate for the breed that there was an ample and broad genetic base to select from when the demand hit for larger-framed cattle. Breeders found the growth traits fairly easy to select for. Both 205-day and yearling weights were accurate measures of growth, fairly easy to obtain and were highly heritable.

Hereford breeders, however, recognized that extremes in any trait can lead to production problems and inefficiencies. And, they never lost sight of the fact that fertility, a major Hereford attribute, is at least 10 times more important than any of the growth or carcass traits.

In the late 1980s, Hereford breeders recognized the growing need for documentation of Hereford performance in the feedlot and on the rail. The AHA launched a major study, conducted by leading animal scientists at Colorado State University, to measure and document Hereford genetics in this ever-important arena. In tests conducted in 1991 through 1993, Hereford superiority in average daily gain, feed conversion and cost of gain was established. Cattle on test finished at desirable weights and endpoints with excellent average daily gains in the 4-lb. range. Feed conversion was in the low to mid 5-lb. range, with the resulting cost of gain showing a clear advantage for the Hereford cattle. These results quickly circulated through the beef industry, enhancing the reputation of Hereford and Hereford-cross steers and heifers. Any perceived reasons for feedlot discrimination against white-faced cattle were squelched.

In response to consumer demand for consistent, lean, high-quality beef, the AHA furthered the early 1990s studies into the "eating quality" realm. Again, research proved Herefords to be uniquely positioned for a consumer-driven industry. Beef from Hereford steers consistently rated superior to USDA "mine run" beef‹regardless of marbling‹in tenderness, juiciness, flavor and palatability.

These conclusive research findings were not then set on a shelf to gather dust. Breed leaders seized the value of this data and, based on these encouraging findings, began one of the brightest chapters in Hereford history‹a branded beef product produced through true alliances called Certified Hereford Beef (CHB).

In the fall of 1994, AHA, Midland Cattle Co. and its affiliate, Mid-Ag, formed an alliance to market CHB. The program involves an increasing number of Hereford breeders, their commercial customers, feedlots and retail customers.

While the ultimate quality of the CHB product is the basis for customer satisfaction, other factors are taken into account. These factors include price, consistent supply, proper identification, feeding, fabrication, aging, packaging and storage. All determine the profitability which must accrue directly or indirectly to all segments {Hereford breeders, commercial producers, feeders, CHB product supplier and CHB client}.

Today's versatile Hereford continues to be the benchmark against which other breeds are measured as cattlemen continue to seek the optimum traits inherent in Herefords. Those traits critical to survival in the cattle business are exactly the same traits Herefords offer to today's industry:


Reproductive performance

Optimum size and growth

Documented feedlot and carcass superiority

Low maintenance costs

Optimum muscling

Optimum milk

Adaptability and hardiness



Crossbreeding advantages

American Hereford Association
PO Box 014059 Kansas City, MO 64101 (816) 842-3757 FAX: (816) 842-6931 Email: [email protected]

2004 AHA and Tailor Made LLC. All rights reserved.
Yes, go with Polled Herefords. Very gentle dispositions, great foragers, good mothers, and the bulls are so mellow. When I dont want replacement heifers, I can use an Angus or Brangus or whatever kind of bull I want for a nice crop of F1s. I do believe in polled cattle. The horns should be removed "naturally."

Latest posts