Thursday, January 23, 2014

Highland Cattle

Highland Cattle
Highland cattle  are a Scottish breed of cattle with long horns and long wavy coats which are coloured black, brindled, red, yellow or dun.Whilst the muscle of pure-bred Highland cattle is exceptionally tender and of high flavour, modern butchery and shopping trends tend to demand a carcass and a cut of meat of a different character. In order to address this market, Highland beef producers commonly run commercial Highland suckler cows with a 'terminal' sire such as a Shorthorn or Limousin bull. This allows the hardy Highland cow, grazed upon the rough hillsides of her natural environment, to produce a cross-bred beef calf featuring the tender beef of its mother on a more modern carcass of high commercial value at slaughter, thus rendering a gross margin from her grazing that would have been impossible from other breeds in that environment. There is also a healthy demand from fellow producers of outdoor-reared beef who farm on more forgiving terrain, for Highland cross-bred bulling heifers: most often Highland cows crossed with the Shorthorn bull, for use as suckler cows. These cross-bred beef suckler cows inherit the hardiness, thrift and mothering capabilities of their Highland dams and the improved carcass configuration of their sires. Such cross-bred sucklers, further crossed with a modern beef bull such as a Limousin or Charolais to produce the finest quality beef are one of the mainstays of Scottish commercial beef production. It is this ability to pass on thrift and gross margin down the beef-breeding cascade that has secured this breed's place as a modern commercial beef breed.


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