The highland breed of cattle has a long and distinguished ancestry, not only in its homeland of western Scotland, but also in many far-flung parts of the world. One of Britain's oldest, most distinctive, and best known breeds, with a long, thick, flowing coat of rich hair and majestic sweeping horns, the Highlander has remained largely unchanged over the centuries.
Written records go back to the 18th century and the Highland Cattle Herd Book, first published in 1885, lists pedigrees since that time. The society continues to publish hard copies of our herd book. This gives a permanent record of pedigrees and a fascinating insight to our historic breed. Animals can be traced back to their origins through the herd books. Attractive in its own right the herd book looks fine in any bookcase. Copies of the herd books can be requested from the society office.
New folds, as herds of Highlanders are known, are founded every year both at home and abroad and in recent years Highland Cattle societies have been started in Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Germany, Holland, Finland, France, Switzerland and Norway and there are also Highlanders in Luxembourg, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Poland, and the Faroe Islands. In the British Isles folds are found from the furthest south to the extreme north on many different types of ground varying from the slopes of the Sussex Downs, the fenlands of East Anglia,to the windswept machars of the Outer Hebrides.
But it is on the vast areas of poor mountain land with high annual rainfall and bitter winds that Highland Cattle thrive and breed where no other cattle could exist Making the most of poor forage, calving outside and seldom, if ever, housed they make a real economic contribution to hill and upland areas.The breed is exceptionally hardy with a natural and unique ability to convert poor grazing efficiently. They are remarkable for their longevity: many Highland cows continue to breed to ages in excess of eighteen years having borne fifteen calves. They are great mothers. The versatility of the Highlander led to a great upsurge in exports to the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Austria, Holland and South America. Highland Cattle can be found foraging 10,000 feet up in the Andes.
"Guaranteed Pure Highland Beef"tm comes wholly and exclusively from 100% pure pedigree Highland Cattle and commands a significant premium in specialist retail butchery outlets. The Highland Cattle Society, representing breeders, is firmly in the 21st century, with fully computerised records, and able to authenticate the complete traceability of this unique product. Highland Cattle are naturally reared thriving in the hills and uplands of our country without the need for intensive farming practices, producing an excellent modem beef carcass with the lean, well-marbled, flesh that ensures tenderness and succulence with a very distinctive flavour. Highland Beef is healthy and nutritious with lower levels of fat and cholesterol and a higher protein and iron content than other beef.
The unique attributes of the pure Highland cow make her the first choice for the production of commercial hill cows. These can be sired by many different breeds of bull; a commonly used sire being a Beef Shorthorn bull, but recently excellent results have been obtained using continental sires.
The cross Highland cow the inherent hardiness of the pure Highlander, plus that vital ingredient "hybrid vigour". The cross Highlander has the milk to rear the continental calf with the high beefing potential demanded by today's market Both the pure Highlander and the first cross Highlander retain the prime ability to convert poor hill grazings into quality beef carcasses.
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