What Is the History of Hereford Cattle?
Although much of the Hereford cattle’s history has been lost, many agree that they descended from both Roman Briton’s small red cattle and a large Welsh breed. Hereford cattle were named after the English county, Herefordshire, which closely borders Wales.
Around two to one and a half centuries ago, the British industrial revolution spiked demand in beef production to keep up with the expanding food market. As such, farmers in Herefordshire had to have cattle that could efficiently produce beef from their local grass, whilst creating a healthy profit, to keep up with such demands.
In the 1700s and early 1800s, Hereford cattle were far larger than they are today, with mature Hereford cattle weighing over 3000 pounds at the time. Since, the Hereford cattle have evolved to become less weighty to increase quality, efficiency and smoothness.
Hereford cattle were first exported in 1817 from the UK to the US and are now incredibly widespread worldwide. The first Hereford cattle were imported into the US in the early 1800s by Henry Clay of Kentucky, importing a bull and two females. Later in 1840, the first American breeding herd was established by Erastus Cornin of Albany, New York and William H. Sotham.
Having spread throughout the US and Canada, Hereford cattle found their way down to Mexico to some of South America’s renowned beef-raising countries. Hereford cattle now exist in well over 50 countries, maintaining a population of around five million.
Despite its travels, the Hereford cattle were the first to be truly recognised as an English breed.
What Are the Characteristics of Hereford Cattle?
Hereford cattle are often white-faced with a white crest, underline and dewlap. The bulk of their coat is dark-red to red-yellow tone. Most Hereford cattle also present with short thick horns that curve down at the side of their heads.
Hereford cattle are muscular, have an adequate leg length and are moderate to long in body length. In areas that are most valuable cuts (loin, back and round or hind quarters), the Hereford cattle are particularly well developed.
Known for their longevity and foraging abilities, females can live and procreate beyond 15 years old. Bulls, however, are profitable at stud until the age of 12.
As a hardy breed, the Hereford cattle can withstand varying climates, from subtropical zones of Brazil to snows of Finland. They are also docile and easy to manage, yet fast-growing, and produce a high quality of beef with low wintering costs.
How Much Do Hereford Cattle Weigh?
Nearly half the size they once were historically, Hereford males weigh around 1800 pounds, whereas mature females weigh up to 1200 pounds.
Zoe BASSETTFarmow English Writer
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