Ag Econ 402 Paper

Ag Econ 402 Paper - The Birth of the Breed Jessica Lester...

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The Birth of the Breed Jessica Lester Ag Economics 402 Final Paper March 24, 2005 1
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Hereford Heritage The Hereford breed of beef cattle was established near Hereford, county of Herefordshire, England, nearly 300 years ago as a product of necessity. Thrifty, enterprising British farmers were seeing the need to produce beef for the expanding food market created by Britain's industrial revolution. To successfully meet this growing demand, these early-day cattlemen needed cattle which could efficiently convert native grasses to beef, and do it at a profit. No breed at that time could fill that need, so the farmers of Herefordshire developed and founded the breed that logically became known as Herefords. These early Hereford breeders molded their cattle with the goals of high beef yields and efficient production. They so solidly fixed these traits that they remain today as outstanding characteristics of the breed. Cattle with the trade-mark white faces and distinctive red bodies are instantly recognized world-wide as a time-tested, reliable source of profitable beef cattle genetics. Benjamin Tomkins is credited with being a primary founder of the Hereford breed. He began in 1742 with a bull calf from the cow Silver and two cows, Pidgeon and Mottle, inherited from his father's estate. This was 18 years before Robert Bakewell began developing his theories of animal breeding. Tomkins' goals were economy in feeding, natural ability to grow and gain on grass and grain, rustling ability, hardiness, early maturity and high rates of reproduction‹traits that are still of primary importance today. Other pioneering breeders followed Tomkins' lead and established the world-wide reputation for these Herefordshire cattle, thus causing their exportation from England to wherever grass grows and beef production is possible. 2
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Herefords in the 1700s and early 1800s in England were much larger than today's. Many mature Herefords of those days weighed 3,000 lb. or more when displayed in 1839. Gradually, the type and conformation changed to less extreme size and weight in order to get more quality and efficiency. Today's Herefords are optimum sized to produce slaughter cattle that fit industry demand. Weighing in the 1,000 to 1,200-lb. range. United States Importations Herefords came to the U.S. in 1817 when statesman Henry Clay of Kentucky made the first importation of a bull and two females. These cattle and their offspring attracted considerable attention, but they were eventually absorbed by the local cattle population and disappeared from permanent identity. The first breeding herd in America is considered to be one established in 1840 by William H. Sotham and Erastus Corning of Albany, N.Y. and for practical purposes Herefords in the U.S. date from the Sotham-Corning beginning. The more densely populated eastern area of the U.S., including herds in New England, was the early home of Herefords. From there they fanned out to the South, Midwest and West as population
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Ag Econ 402 Paper - The Birth of the Breed Jessica Lester...

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