SOUTH OF CAPRICORN CALLING

Hello again to Miniature Hereford enthusiasts in the USA. We’ve got a crazy start to summer down here in New Zealand. A wet, cold winter was followed by a wet, cold s

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pring and now drought is threatening in some parts of the country while the others stay sodden. Our area is in between so there is plenty of grass with silage, and shortly, haymaking in full swing.
Show season is underway but at our very first show one of the cows was injured when her leg caught on the lip of a steel portable loading ramp. She’s out for the season now as the wound will take a long time to heal. We have always offloaded onto a grass bank but it was not available this time. From now on we will take some kind of protective covering in case these ramps have to be used again. The show was advised of what had happened and sent photos. I have received an apology with an assurance the matter will be taken care of for the future. No offer to help with the vet bill, though, which is going to be HORRENDOUS!
This Spring a number of cows in New Zealand have been inseminated with straws imported from Robert Watts’ Diamond S Starbuck (a polled mini) to help fast track the establishment of a polled herd. It will be an anxious wait, firstly to see if the cows are in-calf, then to see if the calves arrive safely. A New Zealand bred polled line has also be



en started with using one of my horned mini bulls over several of the smaller polled heifers we have in our regular Hereford Stud. Of the six calves born (three heifers and three bulls) five of them are polled which is a good beginning. I am now on the lookout for more polled mini bulls with some promising ones in the pipeline. The importing procedures take so long I thought it best to start hunting now!1 An advantage now is that in both Australia and the United States a test is available to determine the percentages for homozygous or heterozygous polled and horned genes. A result showing over a 90% likelihood of throwing polled calves is what I am after although with several polled mini heifers now in the country it could be hoped for 100%. Our freezing works (abattoirs) and transporters require anything horned to have the horns not extending beyond the outer limits of the ears with an eventual aim to have no horns accepted.
With the popularity of the Virtual Cattle Show growing I suggested to the New Zealand mini breeders that we run a National one as well. Maybe other countries would like to do the same. There are other breeders here who would like to go to live shows with their cattle but are restricted in different ways so doing it via the internet appeals. Hopefully everyone is stocking up on photos for next year’s VCS. It was interesting to read about the “Hereford – Champion of the World 2012” and “Hereford – Miss World 2012” competitions held in December of this year. It consisted of 80 National Champions from 32 countries and was run via the “Hereford Talk” page on Facebook and the www.herefordbreeder.net website. You can view the pictures and details on all the cattle by visiting that website. Something similar to our VCS?

I now wish you all a happy festive season and hope the winter weather is kind to you.

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