Welsh Black cattle
The Welsh Black is the only breed of cattle native to Wales. As with most native breeds, the origins of Welsh Black cattle are a little unclear. That being said, Welsh Black cattle have been bred in Wales for over a millennium and it is highly likely that the breed was roaming the hills and mountains in pre-Roman Britain.
In ancient Britain, Welsh Black cattle were a highly prized commodity. Often used as currency, the breed was referred to as, ‘the black gold from the Welsh hills’. Drovers who had successfully sold the animals at English markets would return to Wales laden with money. These drovers were targeted by thieves and the fear of robbery led to the formation of the ‘Bank of the Black Ox’. This establishment eventually became Lloyds Bank.
Today, Welsh Black cattle are still very much at home in rough, rocky high ground or in green lowland pastures. This dual purpose breed is now established throughout the UK and you will find herds of Welsh Black cattle in a diverse range of countries. The breed is thriving in; Australia, Canada, Germany, Jamaica, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, and Uganda.
Welsh Black cattle characteristics
For many, many years there were two distinctive strains of Welsh Black. For beef there was a stocky north Wales and for dairy, a south Wales (or Castlemartin) animal. The present day animal combines the best of both with an emphasis on beef production.
Most Welsh Blacks vary from rusty black to jet black in colour. The appearance of the red recessive gene can sometimes lead to a red animal being born. (It will have no black genes.) The number of naturally polled Welsh Blacks is increasing.
Their thick winter coat provides protection against the elements and this hardy breed is happy to graze in rain and snow. Welsh Black cattle perform well in a variety of situations and are able to thrive on upland and marginal areas.
Welsh Black cattle temperament
The breed is known for its ease of calving. Cows make excellent mothers typically producing 4,000 litres over 9 – 11 months in an even lactation.
Cows can calve regularly at 15 – 20 years of age. Medium sized suckler dams are capable of rearing strong pure or cross bred calves. Calves suit traditional and intensive systems. Bulls are renowned for their fertility. Welsh Black bulls typically have a high sperm count and work in all weathers.
Welsh Black cattle weights
The breed is not overly muscular. Bulls usually weigh 950 – 1150 kilos. Welsh Black cows around 600 – 800 kilos.
The high quality meat is generally marbled and low in fat. Welsh beef has Protected Geographical Indication status. It is a breed that has much to offer modern day farming systems. It is of little surprise that Welsh Blacks are one of the fastest growing British breeds.
If you are interested in purchasing Welsh Black cattle, please get in touch.
Welsh Black cattle for sale and many other breeds
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As Ireland’s largest exporter of dairy cattle to the UK, our extensive range of contacts enable us to supply breeds such as; Ayrshire, British Friesian, Brown Swiss, Dairy Shorthorn, Guernsey, Holstein, and Jersey.