Raising the right size cattle
for better feed efficiency and profitability
Herefords, Classic Herefords, Miniature Herefords???
Classic Herefords are better
Overall, the “Miniature Hereford” label was very bad for the group. It suggests that all the Herefords within this label are small, toy-like pets to have in your yard. This Miniature Hereford label is divided into 5 different frame sizes 1, 0, 00, 000, 0000. The “1” frame size is the largest and the “0000” is the smallest size. The chart on the right identifies the different sizes for each frame categories.
The Miniature Hereford label came about because the cattle industry has dramatically increased the size of the Herefords compared to the size of the original, “classic” Herefords imported to the US. That super-size increase resulted in the following issues.
We believe that only the upper two frame sizes in Miniature Herefords can help improve the above issues. The two lower frame sizes produce less beef to financially justify raising them for beef. It seems the lower frame size animals would be sold for the uniqueness of the smaller size and for raising beef for personal use. The Classic Hereford Frame Chart adds frame scores 2-4 in order to cover the 1,000 - 1,100 lb cows recommended in University research.
The research shows the bigger the animal, the more they eat. The feed efficiency measurement is the ratio of the cow weight divided into the weaning weight of the calf at 205 days old. A modern Hereford cow weighing 1,400 lbs generally can only produce a ratio of 39% or less while a 1,000 lb Classic cow can produce a ratio of 50% or higher.
Increase Pasture Acreage
The research shows that the Classic frame size requires less to eat compared to the super-sized Herefords and therefore fewer acreage per animal is required or more can be run on the same acreage compared to the number of super-sire Herefords. Also more lbs of beef can be produced per acre with Classic size compared to super size Herefords.
Harder to Handle
It is easier to handle a 1,100 lb. Classic bull compared to a 2 ton super size bull.
Better fencing required
Larger animals require a higher, stronger fence compared to a shorter animal. We recently added some more barbed wire fence. Started out planning to use 5 strands but decided to only use a 4 strand fence.
Larger cuts of beef
Research has shown that the Classic size steer processed produced some smaller size cuts of some of the steaks that may be more appropriate for what healthy oriented people are looking for compared to the size of the steaks from a super size steer.
Produce heavier birth weights
Research shows that heavier birth weights can cause increased chances of birthing problems. Breeding super size cows with Classic frame size bulls produces lower birth weights and fewer potential birthing problems. Thus a reduction of losses at birth.
Reach Puberty later
Research shows that super size Herefords will reach puberty at a later age compared to Classic frame size Herefords. Therefore, heifers may be bred a little earlier and therefore the cow will have a more productive life.
Lower propensity to marble
Research shows that there is a lower propensity for the beef to marble in larger, heaver Herefords compared to the Classic frame size. More of the growth in the larger frame goes into growing the frame and bone compared to increasing the beef and fat for marbling.
Higher maintenance due to the heavy body weight
Research shows that there will likely be higher maintenance in the super size Herefords compared to the Classic frame size because of all the weight the super size bones, legs and frame must support. Less weight puts less stress on the Classic frame size.
Lower dressing weight from processing
Research shows that there is a lower percentage of packaged beef from a super size Hereford compared to the Classic frame size. Classic frame size Herefords have shorter legs and less frame required to support their lighter weight.
Super size Hereford
Classic size Hereford - 1954
Hereford - 2015
(Bigger than the original size 1954 champion steer)
For our small herd, we have decided we must focus on raising Herefords that are of a size we can financially justify and will fit the size of our farm. We have 100 acres. We raise our cattle only on pasture and the hay we cut and bale at our farm. The Hereford is a beef animal industry and whatever size we raise has to have a major focus on raising our cattle that can successfully be marketed in a beef industry and not how cute they are. There are some customers looking for cute cattle but I believe the Classic frame size Herefords are the best size for our financial justification and I believe we have some pretty nice calves that several people are purchasing for the show ring. We will always publish the frame sizes for our bulls, heifers and cows in our website. That is a win - win for us.
Classic size Hereford calf