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What are Herefords?


Herefords are an easily recognizable beef breed. All of them are medium framed cattle with distinctive red body color with the head and front of the neck, the brisket, underside, and switch in white.  Horned Herefords have short thick horns that typically curve down at the sides of the head.  A polled strain was developed here in the United States in 1889, with all the attributes of the horned variety without the horns.


Herefords are an ancient breed, kept in Herefordshire in western England for centuries. They gained their modern appearance around 1800 by crossing with cattle from Flanders. Originally, Herefords were large framed draught cattle, some weighing over 3,000 pounds. During the nineteenth century, there was selective breeding for early maturity, which required a reduction in the size of the animal.


Henry Clay, Kentucky statesman, brought Herefords to the United States in 1817.  In the mid-1800’s, the bull, Anxiety 4, was imported from England and is credited with being the “father of American Herefords”.


Today the breed is widely known for the following traits:

            --Fertility, reproductive performance, longevity, and mothering ability

            --A calm and easy going disposition

            --Adaptability and hardiness

            --Low maintenance costs and feed efficiency

            --Documented feedlot and carcass superiority

            --Crossbreeding advantages

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