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Hereford cattle exports

During the period between 1900-1917 Hereford cattle were exported to Australia, America, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Rhodesia, British East Africa, South America, Russia and even Japan. The export of Hereford cattle to South America during World War I continued, using ships registered in neutral countries.

The peak export years were 1903 (312 animals), 1906 (340), 1913 (383) and 1916 (532). The total number of exportation certificates issued by the Hereford Breed Society between 1902 and 1918 was 4,150. All this from a body with a total membership of fewer than 450 (one-tenth of what it was by the 1970s).

By 1908 Shorthorns comprised two-thirds of all cattle in the UK. Various breeders attempted to cross the Hereford with the Shorthorn but the offspring, though satisfactory from a dairy point of view, were not exceptional beef cows. Consequently the Shorthorn and other Shorthorn crosses began to oust the Hereford. The Shorthorn fattened more quickly than the Hereford outdoors, but this also gave rise to complaints that the Shorthorn meat was over-fatty and the taste affected by the oilcake used to fatten it.

[Original author: Miranda Greene, 2005]