Shumaker Herefords was started in 1980 with the purchase of several groups of heifers from the herd of Warner Rebenstorf, my uncle. Warner had dedicated his life to breeding the best possible Hereford cattle for over 40 years. His cows were thick, milked well and produced a healthy calf every year. Several additional females were purchased from other herds in the early 1980s but very few performed well enough to remain in the herd for very long.
A whole herd TPR program was initiated and practical performance has always been the focus of this program. Herd sires have been selected for a practical balance of milk and growth traits with special emphasis on birth weight and scrotal circumference. High birth weight show ring winners are totally irrelevant to the goals of this breeding program.
This is a small herd of 70 cows that is dedicated to enhancing the efficiency of Hereford cattle to produce a low maintenance cow herd that has a high percentage calf crop which is profitable in the feedlot. This requires a balance of traits rather than attempting to maximize some of the current EPD traits. This philosophy was vindicated in 2005 when AHA introduced the profit indices. Notice that the herd ranks well above the breed average in all 4 of the indexes and the senior herd sire, FELTONS SOUNDER 957, was a trait leader in each of the four indexes.
The cows have been ruthlessly culled for generations for fertility, disposition, udder quality, eye problems, birth weight and any structural problems. The yearling replacement heifers have been culled on pelvic measurements for more than 20 years and calving problems are rare. For the past 15 years steers have been fed out through the GOP program to collect gain and carcass data . Ultrasound has been utilized for selecting replacement heifers for the last 13 years.
Only top performing, moderate birth weight calves are retained as bulls. Only 3 or 4 bulls are kept each year but I would rather sell a few bulls of significant genetic merit than a bunch of mediocre bulls.
Allan W. Shumaker