by George Looby, DVM
The fall show of the Northeast Highland Cattle Association was held in the Mallary Arena located on the grounds of the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, MA Oct. 10-12. This show drew exhibitors from throughout the northeast, providing breeders the opportunity to compete against their peers, allowing winners to be recognized as the best in the region. Exhibitors were present from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania with 15 farms represented. A total of 66 head were shown in 18 divisions. The judge for the event was Kevin Woolam associated with the Central Connecticut Co-op in Manchester, CT.
The Highland Breed is arguably one of the most distinctive breeds of cattle, with its long coat and large horns making it instantly recognizable when seen grazing in a pastoral setting. Known by many as Scottish Highlanders or Shaggies, this breed evolved by a process of natural selection in the rugged terrain of the Scottish Highlands — a place known for having some of the most inhospitable weather on earth. This breed adapted to the environment and is able to thrive where others might fail. It is able to endure temperatures as low as -30 degrees F. Its double coat protects it from the arctic blasts common to its region of origin. It has the visable long shaggy outer layer and a soft wooly inner layer that eliminates the need for expensive barns, shelters or sheds for protection. The need for such buildings is determined by the adaptability and endurance of the owners when working the stock becomes necessary.
A most distinctive characteristic of the breed is the impressive set of horns that set them apart from most other breeds. Two other breeds originating in the U.K. that might come close are the Devons and the Ayrshires. Known as efficient grazers under very marginal conditions, these horns are used to knock down brush to make the grass growing under it more accessible. To those unfamiliar with their temperament, they present a rather formidable appearance — an animal not to be challenged on its home turf. In actuality their temperaments are mild, they are good mothers and have a long reproductive life.
This breed has been at the cutting edge of the grass-fed beef movement. Thrift has long been considered an attribute of the Scottish people and this low maintenance breed fits their needs exactly. The breed is able to produce cuts that are lean with natural marbling and low fat meeting the needs and preferences of many consumers.
The first Herd Book was published in 1885 by the Highland Cattle Society in Scotland with the first registry in this country taking place in the 1920s. In 1951 the American Highland Cattle association was formed.
Highlights of the 2013 Show
• Grand Champion Bull: Trafalgar Yann (D), owned by Trafalgar Square Farm, North Pomfret, VT
• Reserve Grand Champion Bull: STR Warrior (AI,D), owned by Star Lake Cattle Co., Springfield, NH
• Grand Champion Female: Trafalgar Alena (D), owned by Spring Flight Farm, Elmira, NY
• Reserve Grand Champion Female: STR The Lucky One (AI,D) owned by Twinflower Farm, East Corinth, VT
• Grand Champion Cow/Calf: Trafalgar Xena/STR Warrior owned by Star Lake Farm, Springfield, NH
• Reserved Grand Champion Cow/Calf: Cobblestones Raquel/BRF Barra owned by Bull Run Farm, Leighton, PA
It should be noted that next year’s show will be held in May in conjunction with the Big East Junior Jackpot Show. For details visit the associations website: www.nehighlandcattle.org
• Dwight Eisenhauer, Bull Run Farm, Leighton, PA
• David Marthers, Danville, VT
• Dick and Joyce LeClar, Double LL Farm, Boonville, NY
• Jessica Richardson, Georges Mills, NH
• Bill aand Doug Haines, Ledyard Farm, King Ferry, NY
• Margaret and Bruce Meldrim, Meldrim Meadows, Central Square, NY
• Miriam May, Dennis, MA
• Peter Crowell, Foxstand Farm, New London, NH
• Dave and Laura Miller, Race Hill Farm, Roxbury, CT
• The May Family, Seawind Meadows, Dennis, MA
• John and Jacquelyn Chotkowski, Spring Flight Farm, LLC, Elmira, NY
• Daniel Thorne, Star Lake Cattle Co., Georges Mills, NH
• Dottie Bell, Thunder Hill Farm, Waterford, ME
• Theodore Robbins, Trafalgar Square Farm, North Pomfret, VT
• John and Sue Foster, Twinflower Farm, East Corinth, VT
Officers of the association are President Sue LeClar, Vice President and Youth Director Laura McDowell-May, Secretary/Treasurer Bailey Markwell, Newsletter Editor Cori Drobnika. The Board of Directors are Hugh Wilson, Dwight Eisenhauer, John Foster, Chris Markwell, Todd Richardson, Sarah Balmforth and John Chotkowski.