Personally it has been an interesting final year for me as President of the New Zealand Hereford Association, as beef cattle prices hold strong while the dairy pay-out continues to be unfavourable. By providing superior beef genetics to the dairy industry, NZ Herefords are pleased to assist our dairy counterparts in adding value to the dairy beef commodity.
The challenge for the Hereford breed this season is to prove the value of registered, performance recorded Hereford genetics in comparison to the standard commercial bull as well as assisting in the identification of superior performance recorded Hereford bulls.
As an endeavour to easily identify registered, performance recorded Hereford animals; particularly bulls - from all others, NZ Hereford’s has developed a Hereford true blue ‘H’ tag. First marketed in the spring of 2015, these ‘H’ tags will be seen at 2016 yearling sales and more prevalent at 2017 registered two year bull sales. By supporting this true blue ‘H’ ear tag, NZHA members not only support the registered Hereford brand in the industry but also help themselves by identifying their animals as having superior genetic potential with a traceable pedigree of favourable fertility, growth and carcase genetics AND estimated breeding values attached.
In conjunction with Beef + Lamb Genetics, in 2015 NZ Herefords became involved in a dairy beef progeny test whereby for the first mating, 600 dairy cows have been inseminated with Hereford and Angus semen and 200 heifers run with eight yearling bulls, four of which were registered Herefords. All with the mission of validating the use of superior and appropriate beef genetics for use in producing dairy beef progeny with value adding growth potential.
NZ Herefords involvement in the Beef + Lamb Genetics beef progeny test at Mendip Hills Station is now in its second year. The dry North Canterbury conditions have added an extra challenge to the trial; however we look forward to the genetic performance results. The NZ Hereford Council is extremely appreciative of the considerable donations of beef semen to these two progeny tests that numerous Hereford studs have contributed.
The NZHA 2015 ‘Power of the Beef Cow Field Day’ was held in the central North Island at Haungaroa Station- a Maori incorporation owned entity overlooking Lake Taupo. Manager Lance Aldridge has sourced elite registered Hereford genetics over many years and produces consistent, very creditable results.
Hereford Prime’s Waikato based partner, Magills Artisan Butchery showcased their new ‘Slow Cooked Pulled Hereford Prime Beef’ at the field day – it was the first public tasting of the slow cooked pulled beef. This innovative Hereford slow cooked pulled beef, a product full of flavour, texture and convenience, won the Supreme title at the New Zealand Food Awards – deserved congratulations to the Magill family business
Hereford Prime remains an important brand for our breed, however is still only available in some parts of New Zealand; we continue to work on increasing the availability throughout the whole country.
The past season has been challenging for many, but in particular North Canterbury and Otago, which led to the decision to cancel the 2016l NZ Herefords ‘Power of the Beef Cow’ field day at Wanaka. However we look forward to hosting a field day again in 2017.
At the 2015 NZHA AGM several votes were held in relation to changing the constitution and they all upheld the results of the NZHA referendum held earlier in the year. Progress has been made with allowing the NZHA Council to vary councillor numbers, use postal voting for constitutional changes and the obvious which has happened, of the presidential term being extended in extenuating circumstances.
Herefords involvement at Beef Expo 2015 was very successful even though prices did not climb to the heights of the previous year, the sale ended with a very satisfactory average of $9100. At the Awhea grazing unit, breeders inspected the Expo bulls, enjoyed Hereford fellowship over lunch and observed several breed presentations including a Fellowship of the breed bestowed on Richard Barnett, past President and founder of PBB.
NZ Herefords have been very fortunate in having the Langtry family manage the grazing unit for several years and we are sincerely grateful for their enormous contribution in this regard. We wish them the best in their semi-retirement. Paki-Iti Farms, also at Kimbolton has fortuitously taken over the grazing and management of the NZHA North Island bull unit and we look forward to working with Stuart Morton and his team.
The NZHA Ambassador programme no longer called ‘Youth’ as they are between 20 -40 yrs old and considered of an age to gain more from their ‘Ambassador’ experience as well as commitment to the industry. This year, with an invitation from Generation Angus, the NZ Hereford Ambassadors and Australian Hereford Ambassador enjoyed an excellent Wairarapa technical tour. The Trans - Tasman Ambassador exchange is going strong, providing a great opportunity for a young Hereford Breeder to gain a greater understanding of the Australasian Hereford industry. Both initiatives are funded by the annual Ambassador Auction and also generous sponsorship from NZ Herefords gold sponsor, Merial Ancare.
Our breed is supported by loyal corporate sponsors with NZHA’s gold sponsor Merial Ancare deserving of special thanks. In particular, David Dodge who is so supportive of Herefords and the numerous Merial Ancare – NZ Hereford programmes. We welcome on board new sponsors Landpower – Claas Harvest Centre, who you will see featuring in the member newsletter on a regular basis. Existing NZHA sponsors, Goldpine, Honda Motorcycles NZ and Tru Test have extended their business relationship contracts with NZ Herefords – we must all ensure to uphold beneficial reciprocal relationships with these companies.
Finally I would like to acknowledge our hard working, ever helpful Hereford Association staff members, whom we depend on for the smooth operation of our business and whose experience and knowledge make the council’s job so much easier. I would especially like to thank our Breed Manager Donna Abbiss for her commitment above and beyond, which has made my job over the last three years so much easier. However staffing changes are ahead with Donna’s recent decision to retire from the role of General Manager. It is with great pleasure we welcome Posy Moody who has been appointed to the position of NZHA General Manager commencing in the spring of 2016.