With time the breed type changed, according to changes in demand. When the need for working oxen declined during the 19th century, the breed became smaller, bulkier and put on more meat and fat. The back-fat could grow to 15 cm ) In the sixties the extremely well-fleshed bulls averaged 835 kg only, standing 135 cm at the withers. During the seventies the Hereford was bred for larger size and longer bodies were achieved through selection and by the use of American Herefords. The Polled Hereford imported from the USA is responsible for the polled condition in 85% of the British Herefords of today. The cows average 140 cm and weigh 600-800 kg; the bulls average 152 cm and weigh 1,000-1,200 kg. The highly hereditary colour pattern of the light to dark red Hereford – the white face, withers, chest, bottom line, tail switch and feet – make Herefords and their offspring easily distinguishable from other cattle; for this reason the breed is popular in commercial crossbreeding with dairy cows. At an age of 21 months the Hereford weighs 540 kg, thus it is ready for slaughter six months earlier than continental breeds.

The origin of the Hereford has been lost over time but it is generally agreed that it was founded on the draught ox descended from the small red cattle of Roman Briton and from a large Welsh breed once numerous along the border of England and Wales. Herefords have taken their name from the county Herefordshire, an historic agricultural region of England where this breed has evolved.

The Hereford breed was founded some two and one-half centuries ago as a product of necessity. Thrifty and enterprising farmers near Hereford in the  County of Herefordshire, England, were determined to produce beef for the expanding food market created by Britain’s industrial revolution. To succeed in Herefordshire, these early-day cattlemen realized they must have cattle which could efficiently convert their native grass to beef and do it at a profit.

Herefords Become Dominant

It was largely through shows and expositions that Herefords gained their greatest acceptance among cattlemen of this country and, no doubt, the first great impact was scored at the 1883 Chicago Fat Stock Show, the forerunner of the famous International Livestock Exposition which, until closing after the 1975 event, was the premier show for market animals in America. At this show over a century ago, the Hereford steer Roan Boy won the grand championship for his exhibitor, C. M. Culbertson. The steer’s early maturity marked the beginning of the end for the previously popular four-year-old steers — the big, rough, old fashioned kind. In 1886, a two-year-old Hereford was grand champion and in 1903 Hereford yearlings won the carlot grand championship. Three years later a 336-day-old Hereford won the show, the first ever at less than two years old.

Characteristics Of A Hereford Bull

The modern Hereford is coloured dark red to red-yellow, with a white face, crest, dewlap, and underline. Herefords with white flanks and white markings below the knees and hocks are also common. Most animals have short thick horns that typically curve down at the sides of the head, but there is a polled strain in North America and UK (Polled Hereford).

Mature males may weigh up to 1,800 pounds, while mature females may weigh around 1,200. They are muscular, moderate to long in length of side, adequate in length of leg, large in size, trim, and smooth. They are also well developed in the regions of valuable cuts – the back, loin, and hind quarters or round.

These cattle are known for their vigor and foraging ability and for their longevity, many females live and produce calves beyond the age of 15 years. Bulls are capable of remaining profitable at stud to the age of 12 or more. Many breeders keep their elderly cattle until they die of natural causes.

Herefords will stand out in the arctic snows of Finland, endure the heat of Northern Transvaal, withstand the tough climate and rough grazing of northern Uruguay or the sub-tropical zones of Brazil and continue to thrive.

Herefords are generally docile and fast growing cattle with good beef quality.

General Features of A Hereford Bull

  • Greater weight for age and rate of gain either at pasture or on yard feeding
  • The ability to command top prices in the markets as finished beef or as store cattle
  • A higher selling price for breeding stock
  • Greater economy of gain in feeding
  • High percentage of calf crops
  • Lower wintering costs
  • Docility and ease of management
  • Lower labour costs
  • Early maturity and longevity

How Much Does A Beef Cow Weigh?

A typical beef cow such as Angus weighs around 1210 lbs (550kb) for a mature female, and around 1870 lbs (850 kg) for bulls (on average). For a typical herd, this is not a very useful answer because the herd may consist of a variety of cows by age and breed.

Cow weight will greatly vary based on many factors.

Angus beef cow will be about 450-550 pounds when 6 months old, while a mature heifer could weigh anywhere between 800 and 1400 pounds. Heifer growth is usually compared to breed standards to determine normal progress.

The average weight of male beef cows by breed (bulls):

  • Angus – 1,870 pounds (850 kg)
  • Hereford – 1,800 pounds (816 kg)
  • Limousin – 2,530 pounds (1150 kg)
  • Brahman – 2,100 pounds (950 kg)
  • Simmental – 2,500 pounds (1134 kg)
  • Shorthorn – 2,100 pounds (950 kg)

How Much Does A Calf Weigh?

A calf is a young domestic cattle, and its weight quickly grows every month.

The calf at birth will weigh about 82 pounds. A commercial steer (bull calf) is expected to put on about 71 to 79 lbs (32-36kg) per month, while a heifer puts on less, depending on the breed.

I’ve looked more closely into dairy cow heifer weights by age, and got the data from PennState Uni on heifer growth and the average and recommended weights of the most popular dairy cow breeds in the US.

How Much Does A Cow Weigh When Butchered?

For commercial productions, cows weigh usually 900 to 1,350 pounds at slaughter. The average cattle weight at slaughter will depend on customer demands, which determine the age range and weight of cattle.

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