We believe that Black Herefords offer advantages over other breeds. The Hereford cow is very versital, fertile, and calm. Fertility/reproduction is the most important factor in turning a profit for cowmen. It is five times more important than growth and ten times more important than carcass qualities. This makes sense, because no matter how good a cow is, if she is not raising a calf, then she is not making money. The popularity of the Hereford is attributable to its versatility, the ability of females to wean a calf every year, its adaptability to various kinds of feed, and its temperment. The Black Hereford breed is maintaining the above advantages while adding in the black hide.
Hereford/Angus cross – The value of direct and maternal heterosis has been irrefutably established. Direct heterosis is the increase in performance of a crossbred calf. Studies have shown that the cross of a Hereford and an Angus produces the following advantages:
Survival – 1.9%
Weaning Weight – 3.9%
Post Weaning – 2.6%
Yearling Weight – 2.8%
Feed Conversion – 2.2%
This means that crossing Hereford and Angus cattle will result in a better calf than just running Angus cattle. This will serve to add dollars to the operators pocket.
The maternal heterosis is even more convincing. The research has shown the following advantages of Hereford/Angus crosses over Angus cattle:
Calving rate – 3.7%
Weaning Weight – 3.8%
Longevity – 38%
Number of calves – 17%
Cumulative weaning weight – 25.3%
(“Impacts of Crossbreeding,” Coordinated Beef Industry Marketing Systems, September 2010).
With numbers like that commercial cattlemen cannot afford to run Angus only cattle. In particular the Hereford/Angus cross will add longevity and more calves per cow. This means that cattlemen can keep less replacement heifers and sell more calves.
We know there has been a reluctance in the past to purchase red Herefords, because the buyers pay a premium for black hided animals. Now you can get the heterosis needed by crossing Angus and Black Herefords and still get the black hide. It truly is the best of both worlds.
Where did Black Herefords Come From? – The American Black Hereford Association was established as a non-profit corporation in 1994, by the late John Gage. The first Black Herefords to qualify for registration were recorded in 1997. In 2003 the Black Hereford received international breed designation by the National Association of Animal Breeds. In 2005 the American Black Hereford Association implemented its own EPDs. Now there are breeders throughout the United States.[ The Black Hereford was developed by crossing a red Hereford cow with a Black Angus, but cattle can only be classified as purebred Black Herefords if they are 87.5% Hereford and black in color. In other words, the Black Herefords are being developed the same way other breeds have gone black by crossing the original breed with Angus and then breeding the progeny back to a high percentage of the original breed while maintaining the black hide.
We are excited about the potential of the Black Hereford Breed. At one time the Polled Herefords were not even allowed registration. Now they are a strong part of the registered Hereford world. We believe that the Black Hereford Breed will have even a greater effect on the industry.