Don't worry Jinglebob, I don't think you be able to upset any of the Hereford people on here...cept maybe whiteface as she probably has more pride in the whitefaces then anyone else I know.
Even though I am a Hereford breeder, I have no problem slamming the Hereford breed or its breeders. When you witness this breed go from a maternal breed, to a paternal breed and then to mix-of-both/accomodate-every-one breed, it is enough to make your blood boil.
Most of the show breeders are all too willing to name all the great things about the Hereford breed, particularly their success in the showring...but are quick to dispell any facts that may harm its image, even though the Hereford breeders haven't come far in resolving the breed's faults. Such as:
~We don't have a tight range on birth weights. I know some breeders that are aiming for 60-70 lb calves and some that see nothing wrong with 130 pounders. I know one nearby breeder that has a good pension and doesn't care if he had 6 calves in the 150lb range last spring...because the money was there for the c-sections.
~We don't have ample milk flow figured out. We are all over the place on that one, and it is one of the biggest complaints I here from commercial guys.
~We don't penalize those breeders who taint the breed with other breeds. We are still allowing registrations on older bulls who have 'questionable' backgrounds.
~We don't represent the commercial cattleman. I figure about 60% of the breeding in Canada is done on the basis of show. Therefore, cattle are bred on the basis of markings and 'prettiness', as so aptly defined in Southern Ontario.
~We don't know anything about the correlation between pigment and pinkeye. Our commercial herd is about 40 straightbreds, and we have more pinkeye problems in most years then surrounding 100 head purebred Charolais or Angus herds.
One thing I think we have moderately accomplished is attacking prolapses. I don't here about prolapses in Herefords as much as I used to when I started in them.
One thing that almost has me going completely Horned Hereford, is the rising prevalence of creep feeding in the Polled Herefords. I get the oddest looks when I go to shows and say that I am a Polled guy that doesn't believe in creep feeding. I have met some of the juniors from some very respected Hereford families who have grown up believing that you HAVE TO creep feed Polled Herefords, because that is what Daddy and Grandpa do.
I don't go to many of the purebred shows or sales as I generally get ignored and on some level, despised, for hammering the Polled guys on their programs and their DNA, which seems to contain a gene that automatically makes them susceptible to showrings and red banners with 'Grand Champion' on them.
I occasionally show myself, but I stay away from the grain pails. My cattle go in the ring and are usually near the bottom. It keeps my name in the mouths of others even if I get last place. Could not care less whether it is good comments or bad about my cattle, as I know what they are comparing them too. I focus on winning commercial guys over, one person at a time.
I sold 1/4 of my herd in 2002 to a commercial guy that told me last October, as he sold his third crop of calves off those cows, that he hopes to buy more this year.
I sold my first 2 year old bull in 2003, guaranteed the bull as a easy calver....the owner never saw any of the calves born, but enjoyed the 500lb + April calves last October.
I sold my first bred heifer in 2002 to the man I bought my first Hereford from. I check in on her at least once a year and she has raised a 700lb + calf every year, beating every single cow, purebred or commercial in his 20-head herd.
I also try to help out producers by allowing them to pay for their purchases in payments (without interest) or lump sums, because I know how hard it is for the average commercial guy to afford a $1200 heifer or $1800 bull. Heck, it's even hard for me to justify laying out $2000 in one shot on a yearling bull.
In the end, have faith in the Hereford breed. There are breeders out there (although they are few and far between) that are breeding for the commercial cattleman. You just have to do your homework and see how their cattle have worked for the old gent down the road who doesn't have time for show cattle.