The co-author of the history of the American Shorthorn Society believes the breed’s development in Australia is in line with the US.
Dr Bert Moore spent 43 years at North Dakota State University as part of the Animal Sciences Faculty, and last week he attended the World Shorthorn Conference in Wagga Wagga and breed events in South Australia, Victoria and NSW.
As well as teaching at NDSU Dr Moore coached students in livestock judging and led the university’s team in national competitions.
But Dr Moore has always been passionate about Shorthorns.
“I tell people I grew up on Shorthorn milk,” he said.
“I’ve always owned some and now I’ve put them on my hobby farm.”
The executive vice president of the American Simmental Association Dr Wade Shafer was one of Dr Moore’s students at NDSU, and speaking at the conference he said that passion led to a unique nickname.
“We called Bert Mr Shorthorn,” he said.
“When I was at NDSU there was a class called breeds of livestock, and breeds was plural.
“We were about three quarters of the way through the class and somebody raised their hand and asked, ‘Bert, are there other breeds besides Shorthorn in the US?'”
Now living in Iowa Dr Moore describes himself as essentially retired but working part time with US Simmental breeders.
Dr Wade Shafer said while his old lecturer’s expertise is second to none.
“I know that he still bleeds Shorthorn and I’m OK with that,” he said.
“Because we want people who are interested in improving commercial beef cattle production, and Bert fits that bill.”
US Shorthorn history
Dr Moore is also busy co-writing the 150 year history of the American Shorthorn Society.
But he points out, the breed goes back even further in US history.
“The predecessors of Shorthorns were actually brought to the US in 1783 and other importations in the early 1800s,” he said.
“They fitted the needs of the American stockman at that time, especially along the east coast.
“From that they moved west, and became a dominant force in improving the western range cattle, which were at that time based on the Texas Longhorn.”
That popularity continued into the 20th Century.
In 1918 the largest number of registrations occurred with 118,000 head recorded.
Dr Moore said currently around 14000 head are registered each year.
“Number wise now they’re not as popular as some,” he said
“But there is popularity because of the great disposition, and the excellent marbling and eating quality of the meat.”
In researching the history Dr Moore found some things never change.
“The very first national convention was in 1872,” he said.
“Two of the real hot topics at that convention were, firstly, show cattle that were too fat, and the selection of the judges.
“That’s still a topic they talk about now.”
The trip to Australia has given Dr Moore the chance to see what’s happening with his favourite breed down under, and he likes what he sees.
“The US and Australia are pretty much on the same track,” he said.
“There’s been an interchange of genetics, so I think there’s some important degrees of similarity in what the objectives of are the country’s breeders are.”
The story US Shorthorn historian checks out Australian counterparts first appeared on Farm Online.