Welsh Black - The breed where quality
Welsh Black cattle are neither a new nor an exotic breed. In fact, they are one of the oldest British breeds and are absolutely right for today. While other British breeds have been moving progressively in the direction of the exotics, the Welsh Blacks have stuck with their original pedigree and are well worthy of their tag as the giant of the British breeds.
Welsh Black cattle are a native British breed from the mountain and hill country of Wales and are descended from the cattle of pre-Roman Britain. Roman literature refers to them as the "Celtic Ox". There were originally two distinct strains of Welsh Black regarded as dual-purpose animals, the compact and sturdy North Wales type and the larger, rangier South Wales type. Successful intermingling of these two types over the last 100 years has resulted in an optimum sized animal with the emphasis on beef production.
Welsh Black cattle are now established throughout the UK, and there are herds in Canada, the USA, Germany and New Zealand. First imported into Australia from New Zealand in 1984, there are now breeders in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania and South Australia. Genetics have been imported into Australia from Wales, New Zealand and Canada as semen and embryos. Australian genetics have also recently been exported worldwide.
The hardy welsh black features outstanding economic characteristics:
- A thick hair coat that can remain long or sleek depending on the climate
- Tough, hard black hooves less prone to injury
- A rumen capable of breaking down relatively course fibre
Genetic fertility is good and can be maintained at the standard 283 days even under tough conditions. Most heifers will begin to cycle under one year of age. Calving difficulties are minimal due to the large pelvic arch. From the milk production viewpoint, lactation periods are long and the milk flow even. The quiet, easily handled cow is considered to be in her prime between 10 and 15 years of age.
Mature Welsh Black bulls weigh from 950 to 1100kg. They reach puberty early and are vigorous and fertile breeders. They are capable and willing to travel rough country to get the job done.
Welsh Black cattle are amongst the fastest growing of all the British breeds, both in rate of gain and weight for age, and their excellent feed conversion achieves this more economically than most.
For cross breeding, the Welsh Black bull and the Welsh Black cow offer a quick-growing calf that will produce a quality carcass at today's preferred weight.
A Leaner Beef Breed
Today's consumers increasingly demand lean, quality beef that has been produced under conditions as natural as possible, and without the aid of growth promoters and other artificial stimulants. Welsh Blacks fit the bill perfectly because of their capability of finishing at heavy weights without putting on excess fat. Recent MLC figures based on farm performance testing in the UK showed the Welsh Black cattle averaging a 400-day weight of 471kg and back fat of just 2.6mm. This makes the Welsh Black the leanest of British native breeds on test, and at the same time satisfies demands for flavour, texture and marbling.