Cattle breeders meet in Abbotsford
An international delegation that has come to Canada for the 16th World Hereford Conference made a stop in Abbotsford on Monday afternoon, where they looked at some of the best-bred bovines in B.C.
Some 160 delegates from 15 countries looked knowingly at livestock, talked business, and enjoyed lunch at Henry Braun's farm.
Braun is well known as a local city councillor and railway executive, but he has also bred cattle for about the past decade, and is one of a handful of serious Hereford breeders in the Abbotsford area.
Braun said some Hereford traits have been de-emphasized in the stampede to breed the biggest calves that gain weight the fastest. He has been breeding for other traits, including lower birth weights that are easier for the cow to deliver, good feet for stock on large ranches, and good udders.
After 10 years, he is starting to make a difference in the breed, shipping genetics (embryos and semen) to Denmark and Australia, and now working with a customer in Russia.
Braun is the owner of Murphy Ridge Farms and Upper Hat Creek Ranch. Hlusek Farms, 3DL Farms, Coppertone Farms, Kootenay Polled Herefords (which has local interests) and North Bluff Farms were the other local breeders represented.
Braun said their goal on Monday is, "just to show international breeders the kind of cattle we have."
Patrick Eustace, who has a ranch of 1,000 head of cattle in South Africa, was impressed with what he saw.
"Very good indeed – this is the type of cattle we breed," he said.
Errol Manderson has 44 head in New Zealand, and like most of the participants of the tour, was combining a vacation with business.
"I will have a look-see," he said. "I will see if I can do things better."
Gordon Stephenson is the GM of the Canadian Hereford Association, which last hosted this tour in 1976. There are 17 nations that are members of the World Hereford Council, and each can bid to host the tour.
He said Canadian producers are respected worldwide and are leaders in exporting genetics and live animals. He was on Denmark's tour four years ago and said it is a powerful way to make business connections.
From Abbotsford, the tour was to move on to traditional cow towns, including Merritt and Kamloops, ultimately making their way to the Calgary Stampede by Thursday, where they will attend the Hereford conference. Then they will move across the prairies visiting other ranches and operations, winding up the three-week tour in Niagara Falls.