The Highland Breed
The highland breed is one of Britain's oldest, most distinctive, and best known breeds of cattle having a long and distinguished ancestry, not only in its homeland of western Scotland, but also in many far-flung parts of the world., with a long, thick, flowing coat of rich hair and majestic sweeping horns, the Highlander has remained largely unchanged over the centuries. 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!
At Dunsdon Farm
We run nine Highland Heiffers on the farm as part of our conservation work.
They are an ideal breed to help manage our land in North Devon (with its damp climate). They are hardy, smaller than many of the breeds (even other native breeds) so don’t poach the land as much, do well on relatively poor grazing and are absolutely beautiful beasts!!
The Dunsdon Fold
Our fold started with the purchase in June 2009 of our three heiffers; Geraldine, Letticia and Alice, and two years later calves to Geraldine (Peanut) and Letticia (Snowdrop), eighteen months later we purchased Maggie May, Ruby Tuesday, Marmite and Daisy. It is our intention in the coming years to further breed from these girls and increase our stocking numbers, with the possibility of selling on breeding stock and possible rearing for meat.
Making the most of poor forage, calving outside and seldom, if ever, housed they have become a great asset to the farm and its land management.
Highlands – “Around The World”
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 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.. 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 grazing’s into quality beef carcasses.