Food is big business and the current fascination with cookery programs and celebrity chefs has created a much greater awareness of the provenance of what we eat.
Quality is recognised and products and brands which can deliver that special taste factor can command substantial premiums.
Hereford beef is such a product and the success of the breed in recent years has been built on delivery of a consistently superior eating experience and the growing recognition of the Hereford brand by quality conscious consumers.
Northern Ireland farmers using registered Hereford sires are already sharing premiums of well over £1.5 million each year in terms of the bonuses paid by the various retail schemes.
This represents a great opportunity for local beef producers to cash in on a supply chain which can deliver significantly better returns from their beef enterprise.
Farmers using Hereford sires have discovered that the better beef price is only part of the story however. The natural feed efficiency and ease of fleshing of the Hereford cross means that cattle will reach slaughter condition earlier and with less expensive feed than continental bred cattle.
This means a shorter finishing period and lower feed rates, resulting in a much more efficient system and major cost reductions.
For producers this combination of low input costs and higher prices for the end product represents a “win – win” and makes the Hereford the natural choice for crossing in either beef or dairy herds.
Bulls on offer
This years’ Premier Show and Sale of Hereford bulls has been scheduled for Tuesday, 12th February. This event, organised by the local Hereford Breeders Association in conjunction with the Native Breeds sale in Dungannon Farmers Mart, again offers the largest selection of young Hereford sires in the province.
Quality is guaranteed by the pre-sale veterinary inspection and weighing to ensure performance is up to breed standard. The event is recognised as an official sale by the Hereford Cattle Society and the entries are DNA tested to prove parentage and freedom from genetic defects. All entries are BVD vaccinated and the health status of the herd will be displayed in the catalogue and at the sale.
Catalogues are available from Dungannon Farmers Mart and can be viewed on the Hereford Society website - www.herefordcattle.org