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Cattle

Ian grew up with cattle on the farm as his father ran a dairy herd here, then switched to raising beef animals until he retired in 1995. It has long been our wish to have our own suckler beef herd and 2009 the timing was right. We considered many native breeds but chose Beef Shorthorns for their temperament, look and traditional qualities, and in 2011 we added some rare black and white Riggit Galloways to the South Yeo herd as well. Both these breeds originate from Northern England/Scotland.
We started slowly with 2 in-calf shorthorn cows and some yearlings and bought-in a few more animals each year for a couple of years to establish the herd, but now breed our own. Our long-term aim is to run a herd of up to 25 pedigree suckler cows with their followers.
 
Fiona

Beef Shorthorns: Beef Shorthorn Cattle Society
Shorthorns have been one of Britain’s most influential native breeds of cattle; their genetics have been used worldwide in the development of many different breeds. They had the earliest cattle herd book, which was established in 1822. In the early 1900s they were by far the most populous breed in England but their numbers dropped to only a few thousand by the 1980s. The current demand for larger carcasses has meant many native breeds are overlooked or crossed with continental animals. Shorthorns are not rare, but are certainly not common; they are classed as ‘other native breed’ by the RBST. The breed was once dual purpose but diverged into distinct beef and dairy type animals, such that now there are separate Breed Societies and herd registers for beefor dairy shorthorns.

Shorthorns at rest - some of the new South Yeo herd
18 month old Roan Shorthorn heifer in her winter coat
 

Shorthorns occur in a variety of colours from solid red, through red & white, roan, to white. Roans are most popular but we like to have the full range of colours in our herd. The breed are generally very docile and easy to manage, they are milky mothers and calve with ease. They finish between 24-30 months off grass and are good ‘doers’. Ours readily follow a bucket from field to field when we need to move them. We have pedigree animals registered in the herd book and will be keeping all females for the next few years as we build our herd numbers; males will be reared for beef which we sell privately (see below). After having had them for a couple of years we finally got to taste our first shorthorn beef; it is beautifully succulent, a real old fashioned taste of what Sunday lunches used to taste like.

Further details on the South West Beef Shorthorn Breeders Club can be found on their wesbite by clicking here.

Riggit Galloways: See more at the Riggit Galloway Cattle Society
Hardy Galloway cattle occur in a variety of colours from solid black, red & dun, to white with back or red points, and the strikingly attractive belted. It wasn’t until the 1980s that it was realised that a Riggit or ‘line-backed’ colouring had existed as well; where they had occurred in established Galloway herds, it had been assumed that they were a miss-marked throwback, and often sent to the butcher rather than being retained and bred from. The Riggit has solid coloured sides with a white top-line, belly and white in the legs, often with a speckled face. (photo)

A handful of dedicated breeders across Britain are now working hard to bring back the breed from the edge of extinction and we want to help play a part. In 2007 the Riggit Galloway Cattle Societywas formed. The Riggit Galloway, when crossed with solid or belted Galloways, can throw riggit marked offspring, so there is optimism for breeding further Riggits without inbreeding as outcrosses can help to keep a wider gene pool as they are re-established. At the moment Riggit to Riggit matings do not always result in Riggit marked calves, but with further work, this is the aim. Riggits, like other Galloways, also occur as black, red or dun and currently there are less than 100 registered animals in existence. We plan to keep black and whites.

Galloways are a native breed and thrive on unimproved or rough grazing  - indeed ours made straight for a patch of rushes when put into a new field. Their thick dual coat means that if ground conditions are suitable, they can be successfully out-wintered. They are naturally polled (have no horns) and are smaller than the shorthorns. Despite their feisty reputation, we have found the Galloways to be docile easy to manage breed and their beef tastes excellent! The hides are attractively marked and are made into throws, wall hangings, rugs etc.

 
Example 10Kg Shorthorn beef box

Other breeds with similar markings to the native Riggit occur around the world, including the Canadian Speckle Park which has recently been imported to Ireland and Britain, and the American Randall Lineback and American Lineback Dairy Cattle

Galloways in other colours are overseen in the UK by their own breed societies:
The Galloway Cattle Society includes solid Black, Red and Dun in the herd book. The Belted Galloway Cattle Society includes Belted Black, Red and Dun in the herd book and also overseas registrations of White Galloways

Dun Belted Galloway steer & Riggit Galloway heifer Shorthorn calf 'Buttercup'

Shorthorn and Galloway Beef boxes
We usually send off 2-3 beef animals to our butcher each year and sell the meat directly from the farm. We like to ‘finish’ them at grass in the summer months with no additional concentrate feed so they are entirely naturally fed. Our butcher hangs the meat for 3-4 weeks for it to tenderise, then skilfully butchers it for us and makes up 10Kg or 15Kg mixed beef boxes that include a variety of joints from the fore, middle and hind quarters, a selection of steaks, mince, stewing and pasty beef. We take orders in advance and keep our customers posted on when the next available beef will be ready. We are able to courier beef boxes overnight to most parts of the UK in chilled polyboxes to arrive fresh for you to use or put in the freezer. For our current prices see our meat leaflet or contact us for the next available beef.

Meat Price List

To download a copy of our meat price list, please click on the icon

Speckle Park being shown at Devon County Show 2009