March madness is in effect at Everson Ranch! The weather is a month of transition with a split personality. It's typically the snowiest month and can be interlaced with early tastes of spring and everything in between. We have new baby animals and thoughts of this years projects and programs are getting some attention. March is also the time of year that Nancy Roberts, of Arrowpoint Beef Company, will bring her fold of highland cattle back to the ranch for grazing until fall.
Holy Cow! Here are a few fun facts about the Scottish Highland breed:
Highland, an ancient Scottish breed, is the oldest registered cattle breed. Highland cattle can withstand harshest conditions and seem to be immune to everything. They live longer and produce more calves than other breeds.
The correct name for a herd of Highlands is a Fold and that long almost comical fringe is called a Dossan. Highlands don't have a fat layer hence their long double layered 'hairy' coat which combined with sweeping horns makes them so recognizable.
Their double coat acts as a natural insulator, and protects them from severe cold, high rainfall, and strong winds. The outer coat consists of long, coarse hair, while the inner coat consists of soft, short, woolly hair. No other cattle breed has such a coat. Other breeds produce a layer of fat to stay warm. The excess fat stored in subcutaneous layers protects them from severe cold. Highland cattle do not need such fat for protection. And it has been noticed that Highlands do not increase their feed intake until the temperature drops to -18 degrees F, while other breeds increase their intake at 32 degrees F. That is why the meat of Highland cattle tends to be leaner than most beef. Tests done by the Scottish Agricultural College have proven that Highland Beef is significantly lower in fat and cholesterol than chicken, and higher in protein and iron than other beef.
Another little known fact associated with Highland Cattle is they thrive on poor grazing, so their ability to improve scrubland makes them a valuable asset in conservation grazing. That's what makes them a perfect addition to our soil restoration program. Along with the pigs, goats and chickens the cows are doing a great job of breaking up the soil crust and adding important nutrients to the land.
Please plan to visit and tour Everson Ranch on your next visit to OLT!