Seedstock and commercial cattle producers enrolled a record 756 head of Hereford and Hereford-influenced steers in the American Hereford Association’s (AHA) 2022 feedout programs. The significant increase in cattle numbers from 104 participants in 17 states underscores the value producers are gleaning from the opportunity.
“I enrolled cattle because I wanted to get the carcass data back and attribute how those cattle perform going back to their dam and sire,” says Lee Elzemeyer, a Hereford breeder from Richmond, Ind., who is participating in the Hereford Feedout Program (HFP) for the second year. “As a producer it is important for us to know which animals produce the highest quality meat, while also looking at other traits that can add premiums to the final product.” He encourages others to participate.
Participants in the HFP, which began in 2020, enroll a minimum of five head of steers that comply with a specified 45-day weaning and preconditioning protocol. They receive feedlot performance data for their cattle throughout the feeding period, as well as carcass data at the end.
Similarly, the National Junior Hereford Association (NJHA) Fed Steer Shootout (FSS) program, begun in 2017, enables NJHA members to enroll a minimum of one steer, meeting the same weaning and preconditioning requirements of the HFP. Juniors also receive feedlot and carcass data for their entries and have the opportunity to compete for lucrative prizes by participating in an associated feedlot education program. This year’s FSS includes 200 steers from 74 NJHA members in 17 states.
“The growth in the feedout programs provided by the AHA is exciting to see and is a great testament to the progressiveness of Hereford breeders across the country,” says Trey Befort, AHA director of commercial programs. “These programs provide a great avenue for participants to gain a better understanding of the cattle feeding industry, while collecting valuable data to benchmark genetic merit and make improvements.”
Cattle for both programs are fed at HRC Feed Yards at Scott City, Kan., which provides the platform for participants to maximize their profit potential and to expand their marketing avenues by gaining access to an industry-leading marketing grid offered by U.S. Premium Beef®. This allows participating cattle to be candidates for the Certified Hereford Beef® brand through National Beef Packing Company. HRC offers participants convenient, cost-effective financing options. HRC also hosts an annual field day where participants have a chance to see their entries during the feeding period.
Kora Hawkins, Jane Lew, W.V., competed in the 2020 and 2021 FSS and attended the field day. “Meeting new people, learning about the feedlot and understanding how cattle perform was a great experience,” she says. Hawkins is participating in the 2022 program and encourages others to participate to learn more about their genetics to make better breeding decisions.
For more information about the Hereford Feedout Programs, visit hereford.org/genetics/breed-improvement/feedout-program/.