The 18th World Hereford Conference was held in Queenstown, New Zealand from 9th to 13th March.
The Conference attracted nearly 400 visitors from 18 countries worldwide & with the line up that was presented it was no surprise it was so popular.
The Conference kicked off with the Rabobank Welcome Reception on Monday 9th March in the Millennium Hotel where all attendees congregated for a Kapa Haka welcome followed by being formally welcomed by Colin Corney, President of New Zealand Hereford Association & Jose Bonica, World Hereford Council Secretary General.
The week continued with a morning of country reports from each country represented; delivering facts & figures about the population of Hereford cattle, technological developments, genomic testing, youth programmes & association developments in each country.
There were 2 days filled with a panel of speakers on research surrounding climate change, genomics & progeny testing by; Dr. Brad Cook & Prof. Dorian Garrick who presented really interesting & valid information whilst highlighting stark facts such as “We will need to produce almost as much food in the next 30 years as we did in the last 2000 years”.
Dr. Jason Rowntree gave a detailed analysis about developing systems to increase the resilience of food production worldwide and how grazing livestock can improve land and mitigate climate change by capturing carbon and providing other ecosystem services. Dr. Rob Banks of the University of New England discussed the use of data and the future prosperity of the Hereford breed. Agri-environmental analyst; Dr. Jacqueline Rowarth also delivered a presentation on social media and science and where the future lies for the beef industry.
The conference attendees were also treated to the winning presentation from the Young Breeders Competition where Team USA performed flawlessly.
The PGG Wrightson Gala dinner was a highlight of the conference where the 400 conference attendees boarded on the TSS Earnslaw Steamer boat which directed the crowd to the iconic Walter peak station for an evening meal.
Also included in the week were 2 stud visits. The first stud visited was; Earnscleugh Station which is a 21,000-hectare property, owned by the Campbell family since 1862 and now runs Merino sheep, Angus and composite cattle, as well as Herefords. The business also produces wool for elite clothing ranges including ‘Icebreaker’. While at Earnscleugh delegates heard from Dr. Jason Rowntree and Professor Pablo Gregorini who discussed their latest research findings on grazing management.
The second stud visited was Locharburn Station, owned by Geof and Joyce Brown. Locharburn is one of the few horned Hereford studs left in New Zealand, which Geof believes brings an X factor to their cattle. While at Locharburn delegates were given a demonstration on scanning for intramuscular fat (IMF) by Bill Austin of Austins Ultrasound, and Allflex Research reps discussed using Allflex monitoring systems to asses changes in animal behaviour and allow insights into animal health and welfare.
The conference finished up at the Wanaka A&P Show where the teams of Young Handlers from around the globe competed in the show ring, followed by the Show of Hereford cattle. Congratulations to Team New Zealand on winning the Young Breeders Competition & Team Australia on placing Reserve Champions. Well done to our own Team; Eoin, Sinead, Michael & Katie on performing remarkably in all aspects of the competition. Full report here.
A large part of the world Hereford Conference is for the World Hereford Council & country delegates to meet & discuss World Hereford matters, make further decisions & elect the incoming Secretary General which this term is none other then the Irish Society’s very own; Mr. Larry Feeney, replacing the outgoing Secretary General Mr Jose (Pepe) Bonico from Uruguay. The Irish Society are delighted with Larry’s new post & look forward to future global developments.
Another decision made at the Delegates meeting is the host country for the next World Hereford Conference which on this occasion is USA. The American Hereford Association will host the next conference in Kansas City, Missouri in July 2024.
Along with the conference agenda – extra tours and activities were organised for the partners of attendees including wine tasting/Lord of the Rings tours/ Cycling tours & boat trips etc. which meant there was something organised for everyone!
There were also 4 extra & optional tours (Get over your jetlag tour / North Island Pre-tour / South Island Pre-tour / Kaikoura Extension tour) organised as part of the Conference to give attendees a look at some of the Top Hereford studs across New Zealand as well as a taste of Kiwi culture & tourist attractions. These tours were a fantastic opportunity for oversees visitors to make the most of their trip & their time abroad while meeting fellow breeders & enjoying a social outing.
Massive Congratulations & thanks to the New Zealand Hereford Association and the sponsors; PGG Wrightson Livestock – Boeringer Ingelheim – Allflex – Neogen Australasia & all behind the scenes for organising a fantastic conference from start to finish including 4 excellent tours. A lot of hard work and grit went into the organising of this conference and it was clear to see it paid off for the hard working committee. Hats off to all. Looking forward to Kansas 2024.