Purebred cattle production sale uses different format

The traditional purebred cattle production sale has people sitting around a show ring as the cattle are paraded through in front of them.  But after 17 years of observing the wear and tear this process had on both people and cattle, Marty Lueck decided to try something different. 

In 2010, Lueck—who manages the Journagan Ranch, a purebred Hereford operation in south-central Missouri—replaced the live cattle in the show ring with large LCD screens showing videos of the cattle for sale.  Lueck tells Brownfield’s Ken Anderson he was pleased with the results and will use the same system at their next production sale on October 8th.

AUDIO: Marty Lueck (3:00 MP3)

Link to more information on the Journagan sale at buyhereford.com

Raising Hereford cattle in dairy country

Jerry Huth, along with his father, started in the registered Hereford business in 1963. Huth Polled Herefords of Oakfield, Wisconsin is a performance-based operation and has been collecting performance data since 1973. Huth is currently chairman of the American Hereford Association (AHA) breed improvement committee.

During the recent AHA media event, we visited with Huth about his cattle and cropping operation in east-central Wisconsin.

AUDIO: Jerry Huth (9:44 MP3)

Project aims to improve feed efficiency

During the recent American Hereford Association media event, we received an update on the National Program for Genetic Improvement of Feed Efficiency in Beef Cattle from Matt Spangler, assistant professor in animal science and Extension beef genetics specialist at the University of Nebraska –Lincoln.

The genetic improvement/feed efficiency program is multi-faceted project  involving eight universities as well as USDA researchers.  The goal is to “sustainably reduce feed resources required to produce beef via the rapid development and deployment of novel nutritional, genomic and genetic improvement technologies.”

Here’s our interview with Matt Spangler.

AUDIO: Matt Spangler (2:55 MP3)

Link to project web site–beefefficiency.org

AHA focused on genetic improvement

The American Hereford Association’s (AHA) media event September 19-20 featured information about Hereford genomics, Hereford research projects and the National Reference Sire Program (NRSP). The highlight of the event was touring one of the NRSP test sites, Olsen Ranches of Harrisburg Nebraska.

In an interview with Brownfield, AHA’s chief operating officer and director of breed improvement, Jack Ward, discussed some of the research programs designed to document the efficiency of the Hereford breed (including feed intake) and improve the rate of genetic improvement.

AUDIO: Jack Ward (5:11 MP3)


Olsens work to improve Hereford genetics

Olsen Ranches Inc. is a commercial Hereford operation located near Harrisburg in the western Panhandle of Nebraska. 

The Olsen family has raised Hereford cattle and farmed in Banner County since 1885.  Today, the Olsen operation focuses on its commercial cow-calf herd, with 850 cows comprised primarily of Hereford genetics with crossbreeding of Red Angus genetics. 

The Olsens offer custom backgrounding and artificial insemination services.  In 2010 they added a GrowSafe system to their feedlot, which allows the collection of feed efficiency data.

The Olsens also have irrigated and dryland cropland, on which they raise wheat, corn, barley and alfalfa.

For many years, the Olsens have been involved in programs designed to improve Hereford genetics and grow the market for Hereford beef.  Olsen Ranches is one of the key operations participating in the American Hereford Association’s National Reference Sire Program, testing bulls since 1999. Through the years the Olsens have tested 146 bulls and submitted data on 7,623 progeny. 

During the recent Hereford Media Tour, we visited with fourth generation rancher Doug Olsen about their family operation.

AUDIO: Douglas Olsen (5:46 MP3)

‘It’s like people are rediscovering heterosis…’

Mountain Grove, Missouri Hereford breeder Marty Lueck manages Journagan Ranch.  Established in the mid-1960’s by Leo and Jean Journagan, the ranch includes 4,200 acres in south-central Missouri with 370 registered Hereford and 160 commercial cows.

Lueck serves on the American Hereford Association (AHA) board of directors and was one of the participants in the recent AHA media event in the western Nebraska Panhandle. 

In an interview with Brownfield’s Ken Anderson, he talks about the Journagan Ranch, the resurgence of the Hereford breed (“It’s like people are rediscovering heterosis…”) and recent changes he has made to the operation’s annual production sale.

AUDIO: Marty Lueck (6:33 MP3)

Drought impacts New Mexico Hereford breeder

“It’s about as bad as I can ever remember.” 

That’s how rancher Cliff Copeland of Nara Visa, New Mexico describes drought conditions in the Southern Plains.   In an interview during a recent Hereford Media Event, Copeland told us they’ve only received 2.5 inches of rain since last September and are facing some tough decisions with their commercial cow herd in coming weeks. 

Copeland is also a director of the American Hereford Association.  But while our drought discussion was somewhat depressing, Copeland’s enthusiasm for the Hereford breed is certainly not.  

AUDIO: Cliff Copeland (6:20 MP3)

Breeding Herefords in the Kansas Flint Hills

While riding the bus from Denver to the Nebraska Panhandle during the recent Hereford Media Event, we had the opportunity to visit with Hereford breeder and American Hereford Association vice president David Breiner of Alma, Kansas.  Breiner discussed his operation, the Mill Creek Ranch in the Flint Hills of Kansas, and shared his thoughts on the resurgence of the Hereford breed.

AUDIO: David Breiner (7:41 MP3)

Resurgence of Hereford breed continues

Hereford breeders continued to experience an increased demand for Hereford genetics during the 2011 American Hereford Association (AHA) fiscal year that ended Aug. 31.

AHA officials report a dramatic increase in production sale prices while reports of private-treaty sales were the highest in years.

Hereford bull sales averaged $3,937, up nearly $700.  Females averaged $3,033, up almost $500 per head.  These increases were also multiplied by about 1,300 more lots sold than last year. 

Hereford semen demand in the commercial industry is also increasing.  According to the National Association of Animal Breeders, Hereford semen sales increased 17 percent over last year, compared to the beef industry total, which increased only two percent. 

And AHA officials point out that, despite a shrinking national cow herd and a 500-year drought in the southern U.S., FY2011 AHA registrations were even with FY2010. 

During a recent 2011 Hereford Media Event in western Nebraska, we discussed the breed’s resurgence with AHA president John Woolfolk of Jackson, Tennessee.

AUDIO: John Woolfolk (5:33 MP3)