‘Less calving troubles, increased milk production, more live calves’
The Hereford breed acknowledges the importance and contribution of dairy beef production to the NZ beef industry so have focused on investing in Hereford Dairy Sire Selection programmes and subsequent Dairy Beef packages to assist dairy farmers in their selection of appropriate Hereford Dairy Sires – be it a focus on low birth weight and/ or short gestation length.
The easily identifiable ‘White Face Advantage’ – Friesian-Hereford cross calves and animals have long been known to command premium prices at sale time. When crossed in the first instance with another breed (dairy or beef) the Hereford will ALWAYS leave the distinctive WHITE FACE, providing quick, easy and reliable identification, providing buyer’s confidence in a product that is readily saleable at any time. White face heifer progeny are capable of filling a role as hill country cows or dams for beef production and the bull or steer progeny are ideal for prime beef production.
Dairy Beef Selection Index – Developed by NZ Herefords, the only breed with such an index is the Dairy Selection Index. Found on the NZ Herefords website at www.herefords.co.nz, this sire selection tool is economically weighted to reflect dairy beef profitability with emphasis placed on calving ease and growth. The index has been developed using all the breeding values available to give a dollar value. It is aimed at a beef market production target of a 475kg steer finished at 16 months. Any heifers can be on sold or for use in a self-replacing beef cow herd. The Dairy Beef index also puts focus on shorter gestation length bulls.
Short Gestation – ‘Milk in the Vat means Dollars in the Bank’.
Semen or bulls with above average EBVs for short gestation length are available from your registered Hereford breeder or from registered Hereford semen stocks marketed by LIC and Ambreed.
The following figures graphically illustrate why it pays to use a registered short gestation Hereford bull over your dairy cows:
A shorter gestation by five days, producing 1.8kg MS/day at a payout of $7.00/kg = $63.99/cow. For a herd of 450 cows, that equates to $28,795.50.
Unbeatable Temperament – Registered Herefords have an incredibly quiet nature. A large number of dairy farmers allow their Hereford bulls on and off the milking platform and are confident their staff will be comfortable working with these docile animals.
Merit Dairy Sire Scheme – The Boehringer Ingelheim Merit Dairy Sire scheme has been developed to assist dairy farmers in identifying low birth weight, high growth rate bulls, ideal for use within dairy beef programmes. It is a tool that should be used in conjunction with eye appraisal as structural soundness and smooth shoulders also positively assist calving ease.
To qualify for NZ Herefords Merit Dairy Sire status, registered Hereford bulls must have a maximum of +1.6kg for birthweight (in top 10% for bull calf drop), top 20% for the dairy maternal index and top 70% for 600 day growth rate.
A list of the Boehringer Ingelheim Merit Dairy Sire breeders can be found on the NZ Hereford website, under Dairy Beef in the Quick Link menu. Alternatively, look for the brand at your Hereford Bull spring sale.
Value Added Premiums – The entire dairy –beef chain offers added value for the sought after Hereford Friesian cross animal. Marketing premiums for all weight ranges from four days old through to finisher are well documented. Premiums paid range between $50 to more than $100 per head
Guarantee – Registered Herefords are backed up with extensive performance recording and should be considered an investment not a cost. Not only are registered Herefords backed up with performance data but they have all the relevant health clearances and many have been bred for short gestation length and calving ease advantage.
Economically efficient – Herefords are leaders of the British beef breeds when it comes to feed efficiency. Other breeds have been recorded consuming up to 1.2kg more feed per day than Herefords of the same body weight and daily gain. In a feedlot situation Herefords would consume 6% less than other British beef breeds – making it economically sensible to run Herefords.
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Mike & Cath Cranstone
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