The history of the Hereford breed is as intriguing as the genetic mystery of the unique red and white colour pattern transmitted from generation to generation for more than two centuries.
From it's birthplace in the small Herefordshire area of England to its conspicuous global presence in the world's major beef producing areas today, the Hereford breed of cattle is one of the most efficient converters of feed and forage to nutritious beef.
History states the breed was born out of necessity. The Industrial Revolution of the 1700's created population centres and a consumer demand for beef.
Instead of rural people eating beef from 8 – 10 year old oxen who had outlived their usefulness as work animals, a new society structure created a product demand and opportunities for specialization to produce beef for people who worked and lived in cities.
Farmers in the area of Herefordshire reasoned that grass and forage which grew in abundance on the rolling hills was their greatest resource.
Cattle that would most efficiently convert this natural forage could provide a profitable living because of the increasing demand for beef.
Working with what they had at the time, farmers in Herefordshire mated certain red, brown and white cattle available in the area. Foremost in their minds was the need to select cattle that made the most efficient use of their native pastures.
The early historical accounts of one writer stated the red and white cattle of the Herefordshire region "fattened kindly" on grass and produced high quality beef at a very early age.
Thus, the Hereford breed was born out of necessity and with a purpose so basic that those early genetics contributing to efficiency are very much present today!
Herefords 'colonized' the vast expanses of America during the 1800's.The Herefords very quickly established themselves as the breed of preference in America. Ranchers praised their hardiness, rustling ability, fertility and adaptability.
The breed grew in leaps and bounds, recording over a million calves each year! The Hereford was hailed as the King of Cow Country!
The last 25 years, referred to as "The Performance Era" of the Hereford, has been filled with change, new technology, new competition, new bloodlines and new breeders.
The Hereford has emerged stronger than ever. Performance genetics have contributed toward making the Hereford of today a leader in the beef cattle world.
The Namibian Hereford Association is following a proud tradition of excellence. The efficiency that was instilled in the breed by the farmers in Herefordshire over two hundred years ago is still there!