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The Hereford as it's name suggests has evolved from the indigenous Red Cattle which roamed the Welsh Border Counties and the Western extremities of England. The origins of a special breed of cattle in the County of Herefordshire have been mentioned by various agricultural authors as long ago as the early 1600's.

The Polled Hereford is a hornlesss direct relative of the Hereford and is bred for its deep fore-quarters, depth and muscling, docile temperament, fast growing calves, and good quality of beef.

The Ruckmans herd of pedigree Hereford cattle was established in 1990, from cattle sourced from reputable herds in the UK. Since 1995 we have been a closed herd, only buying in stock bulls which we feel will continue to improve our cattle. This has led to us having a good health status and belonging to Biobest Health Herd Plan. Because we feed only natural feed to cattle (homegrown barley and oat, silage and hay), we have never had a recorded case of BSE on our holding.

Our aim is to sell breeding cattle, with cattle not suitable for breeding being finished at the farm. We supply to Waitrose, and also supply our Hereford beef along with some reared lamb to local outlets and sell directly to local consumers from the farm.

We have sold breeding cattle throughout the UK, and were the first breeders of Hereford cattle to export to Belgium in 2008.

In the past we have shown our cattle at major shows with some success, but now restrict our showing to local shows. We do however enter farming competitions in our area, just recently winning Best Standing Grass Beef and Sheep category from The Surrey Grassland Society, and the Best Beef Herd competition of the Cranleigh and South Eastern Agricultural Society. We earned the following comments from the judge:

"A beautiful closed herd of Herefords maximizing breeding potential with high quality beef being sold to a high end of the market".

If you would like more information or are interested in purchasing Ruckmans cattle please contact us on 01306 627413 or via the enquiry form on the contact page.

We currently use 2 award-winning stock bulls, and already have a promising young herd of calves to one of them this year - as of spring 2009.

Stock bulls currently in use:

Ruckmans 1 Casino:
Male Hereford Champion - Surrey County Show 2009

Sire: Boundless 1 - Wizard
Dam: Ruckmans 1 - Truelove

First calves born Spring 2009 look promising, giving the length and confirmation we are looking for.

Ruckmans 1 Casino - Stock bull
   

Fisher 1 Westoner:

Sire: Costhorpe 1 - Top Gun
Dam: Fisher 1 - Susan

Ruckmans 1 Casino - Stock bull

Our head of 230 pure-bred naturally reared cattle are kept under the RSPCA freedom foods scheme to ensure the wellbeing of the herd, as we consider this of utmost importance in any farming situation.

We have listed some of the key attributes of the breed below, courtesy of the Hereford Cattle Society, read on to discover the many advantages of choosing Hereford's above the alternatives...

Identity: Throughout its history the Hereford has maintained its distinctive white face and red coat. All cross-bred Hereford cattle feature a white face, a distinct advantage for easier traceability and future predictability.

Foraging Ability: Herefords are well suited to forage based diets and as grass continues to be the cheapest form of feed, this improves financial returns. Research at Bristol University has shown beef produced off grass has a longer shelf life & better colour, is high in the essential fatty acid omega-3 and has a distinctive taste.

Docility: Hereford cattle are famous for their good temperament, a trait which eases management and improves operators safety. As farms continue to cut labour, this will be an increasingly important factor. Less stress during marketing also enhances beef quality.

Adaptability: Great phenotype variability means that the Hereford is an animal capable of adapting to all types of production systems and environmental conditions. This is why Hereford genetics have been exported to all regions of the world. Their genetics having been used equally in pedigree herds and cross breeding programmes.

Ease of Calving: Herefords have traditionally been used in the dairy sector because of their easy calving; resulting in an increased calf crop, viable cross-bred calves and reduced veterinary costs.
During the past ten years finishing weights of Hereford sired progeny have increased significantly, averaging in excess of 300kg deadweight. However calf birth weights and ease of calving have remained constant, providing a welfare friendly environment for breeding females.

Fertility: Herefords are prolific breeders, an important characteristic for any breed as it affects profitability more than any other factor. Herefords weaning percentages are consistently in excess of 90%. Hereford stock bulls and breeding females also have a great longevity producing thrifty calves for many years….

Ease of management: The number of Hereford herds in the UK continues to expand at a phenomenal rate for many reasons, not least because of their ease of management from ease of calving to ease of handling.
As a native breed Herefords are well suited to new environmental schemes and qualify for a payment of up to £70.00 per hectare in the higher level stewardship scheme.

Quality Beef: Herefords finished off grassland produce an excellent 'marbled' beef that is in great demand both within the UK and for export due to its distinctive flavour and renowned eating quality. It commands a premium at retail level when sold through the branded beef schemes and delivers increased returns to producers. Waitrose commenced with a Hereford Beef Scheme in the late 1990's and sales have increased significantly year on year.

Breedplan International Beef Recording Scheme: Breeding traits, principally calving ease, growth and carcase quality are recorded within Breedplan, a universally recognised livestock performance programme. Performance data for pedigree cattle can be viewed on the Society's website www.herefordcattle.org.

 
Ruckmans Farm
Dawes Farm, Bognor Road, Warnham, W. Sussex, RH12 3SH