There are a number of websites that go into the origin of Miniature Herefords with the founding stock being traced back to the Largent family in the USA.
Essentially over the years Hereford cattle have been bred bigger and bigger for the meat content in comparison to the original old English breed. Largent started breeding for a smaller size and that work has continued in a number of countries around the world. It is fair to say that the Miniature Herefords are simply smaller versions of their bigger cousins.
The cattle are extremely quiet and easy to handle and due to their smaller size, higher stocking rates on small acreages can be achieved, and importantly to Tamerton, the cattle do not churn the paddocks to a pulp in the wet winters. They are easy calvers and make good mothers with stock doing well on poor country.
In New Zealand the breed is regulated by the New Zealand Miniature Hereford Breeders Group which sits under the Hereford Association. As such Miniatures must be a frame score 2 and under with five generations of registered pedigree miniature stock in their backgrounds. There is some questioning of this ruling as it is not the common practice in other countries, who insist on lower frame scores and simply require the animal to be a registered Hereford with size being the only distinguishing factor that makes the animal a miniature.
For our stud, we seek to produce stock that are 50% to 60% of the size of a regular Hereford. That works out at around a frame score 0 to 1. The rationale being that the cattle are commercially viable through the works at that size. Other breeders breed smaller for the lifestyle block owner. So within the current rules there is plenty of opportunity to outwork your breeding goals.
The Tamerton stud was started some six years ago with foundational breeding cows from Helen Russell’s Esprit stud. Bulls have been bought in from different breeders and in effort to introduce new bloodlines a bull calf was produced in the Spring of 2012 using semen imported from the US.
Apart from size, Tamerton is looking to produce well marked ruby red coloured, quiet stock, for on selling to existing and new breeders, into the commercial meat market and to dairy farmers to put over their heifers.