Michigan State disperses Herefords

Michigan State University is dispersing most of its purebred Hereford cattle Monday. Michigan State’s herd has a history among Hereford cattle, according to Cody Sankey, the university’s purebred beef cattle center manager.

“The Herefords here date back to the late 1800s and we’ve had them here ever since then,” Sankey told Brownfield Ag News Friday. “Michigan State’s been one of the pillars in the Hereford breed as far as having breed leading genetics, and we’ve sold, whether it’s cattle, semen or embryos, to all the continents of the world except Antarctica.”

The dispersal is because of budget cuts. Sankey says a purebred herd can be budgetarily self-sustaining, however there are added expenses not seen in the private sector, especially when, as in this instance, the herd is used as a teaching tool.

“We use it as a small sample to try and show them learning how to breed and feed and maintain purebred cows and understand genetic selection and genetic evaluation, expected progeny differences, artificial insemination, embryo transfer, things of that nature,” said Sankey, “[we] try and provide those learning opportunities for our students.”

A total of 90 head will be sold, while the university will keep ten Hereford open heifers. Michigan State also maintains fifty purebred Angus cows and fifty commercial cows.

AUDIO: Cody Sankey (7 min. MP3)

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