Scottish Highland Cattle have been revered from ancient times in Northern Scotland and tended by mankind for centuries, with written records dating back to the 18th century. The Highland cattle are unique in appearance, as they have large, elegant horns and a long, double layer coat. They range in color from black to dun, silver to white or shades of red from yellow to mahogany. Highland cattle were influenced by their harsh environment which led to the development of moderate-sized, hardy, efficient grazers that define the breed today. Highland beef has been the beef of choice for royal dining tables for centuries. The Queen of England maintains a fold of Highland cattle at the Balmoral Castle.
The Highlands history has proven their hardiness and vigor in harsh conditions. They are able to gain & marble well on grass only, which makes them an excellent choice in a grass finishing program. Highlands are slow maturing which make the meat fine textured and succulent. Also, crosses with other beef breeds results in increased yields. In a recent study at Manyberries Research Station, Canada, groups of Hereford, Highland and Highland Herefords crossed were tested. The Highland groups produced 2,000 pounds more beef than the purebred Herefords, while the Highland/Hereford crosses produced 6,000 pounds more than the pure Hereford groups.
There are many benefits to finishing beef on grass only. Low inputs, healthy cattle and improved soil fertility are a few direct benefits for the beef producer. Producers are also able to direct market their beef to a growing market that has more demand than supply.
There are many nutrients in grass finished beef that are not found in corn fed beef. The differences in nutrient density are striking so grass finished beef should not be considered to be equal in quality to corn fed beef. For the consumer eating grass fed & finished beef there are many health benefits.
Some of the most significant are:
• A balanced ration of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids
• High amounts of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) – a potent cancer fighter
• Significantly more Vitamin E
• Beta carotene
• Excellent source of minerals, including iron, zinc & selenium
• B complex vitamins
For more information on nutrient levels of grass finished beef, visit www.eatwild.com.