Where will Profits be made from Breeding Mini Herefords?

The miniature cattle market in Australia is entering a rapid growth phase, but most importantly the future market for the end product (beef from miniatures) is very likely to be assured through the efforts of a number of dedicated breeders. These breeders are determined to ensure that miniature cattle are not promoted on the basis of unsustainable promises, in the way that other exotic breeds have been exploited. The Australian Restaurateurs Association is displaying an interest in working with miniature breeders to promote the concept of smaller but full cuts of better quality (texture and taste) beef for use in restaurants. In summary, the key advantages of breeding miniatures are:

  • Miniatures convert food consumed to body weight more effectively than conventional sized cattle (around 40% of the food intake producing 60% by weight of the prime cuts) and mature up to 20% earlier.
  • Miniatures are small, easy to handle and easier on your paddocks and dams – won’t pock those soft areas as readily as conventional-sized. Are bred for placid and ‘friendly’ temperaments.
  • An evolving market for the end product (quality beef cuts) with existing infrastructure support (local breeders).
  • The broad recognition and acceptance of the Hereford breed makes them very marketable and they are able to be registered with major international Hereford Associations.
  • Miniature Herefords are no different to full size Herefords from the point of view of veterinary care.

Where will Profits be made from Breeding Mini Herefords?

Over the last few years we have participated in discussions with the two main miniature cattle breeds Associations and other breeders both in Australia and overseas regarding the future of the industry.

Don Burke summed it up when he said on one of his TV shows that the strength of miniature cattle is the fundamentals are already proven, which is often different to other exotic breeds where the end market is unknown.

The principles of marketing miniatures are quite simple:

  • They are extremely efficient converters of food to their prime product, that is, prime cuts of beef.
  • They produce a new style of beef; that is, small sized cuts of beef that are perfectly suited to the restaurant trade, that will be sold at a price premium
  • The Miniature Hereford prime cuts are also sold direct to the consumer using the Internet in the USA
  • They are easy to manage and very docile in nature; handling helps this tendency.
  • They require no special veterinarian care – they are just a smaller version of regular beef cattle.
  • So potential owners only need to decide whether to become breeders themselves – and invest in stud cattle, or to just grow their own herd of small cattle, in which case perfection of bloodline is less important.
  • Stud stock is obviously more expensive but you can then sell their offspring as stud stock to others.

We at AMH can advise you on the pros and cons of these two approaches.