Highland genes in high demand in Europe

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Before any of our Highland readers think that we mean them, it’s Highland cattle that are in demand.

We may have lost “coo candy” production, but the real beasts are getting high prices from European buyers.  At this year’s Oban sales, prices shot up by 45%, with around a third of cattle sold heading for Germany, Estonia, Italy and Finland.

One bull, Philip Dubh of Auctenny, made 3,000 guineas for it’s Strathpeffer breeders and is headed for Germany. Another two bulls raised 7,900 guineas between them for their Peebleshire farm, and face their future in independent Estonia

One breeder said there has been a boom in breeding Highland cattle in Russia. “It is a huge, untapped market and has so much potential because of its size. If there were the numbers to supply the demand, eventually this could be a multi-million pound operation.”

“Hieland coos” are closely related to the European Ox, which once roamed across the whole land mass, before rising sea levels created the North Sea. Breeders have found that their genes are dominant, and that Highland characteristics predominate in their progeny.

Highland cattle flourish on poor quality fodder that other breeds cannot utilise, and their dense coat allows them to survive in weather conditions that other cattle cannot tolerate. Hence their desirability in Eastern Europe.