It ended up a busy busy year for those of us involved with the National Gathering. We had a great turnout in southern Michigan with some excellent events. Great Lakes Sire Service in Bronson put on an incredibly informative program demonstrating the collection and processing of bovine semen thanks to owners Earl and Melissa Souva. Dr Kent Ames, Professor Emeritus Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine helped out with an excellent presentation of the necessity of semen evaluation in the bull, and per usual, was well received by his audience. (As a previous recipient of numerous teaching awards, this was not surprising.) A field day at Dundonald Farm, including a phenomenal Amish luncheon was followed by the Select Fall Color Heifer Sale. Prices have remained high throughout 2021 and this sale was no exception.
The General Membership of AHCA was well attended at the Michigan Theatre, and Diana Rodgers presented "Sacred Cow", a movie that highlights the value that animal protein plays in our lives. A field day at McLaughlin Farms with pasture walks was well attended, followed by an excellent banquet at Jackson College.
The show season in Michigan was well attended and a needed break from all the turmoil surrounding our 2nd year in Covid-mode. The Yooper Classic at the Escanaba State Fair was particularly well attended with some incredible cattle on display. In particular, the 11 cow/calf pairs demonstrated the strength of this maternal breed. Results of the show can be found here:
The MASH at the Michigan State Fair in Novi also had a good turnout, although not quite as high as expected. As always, the Highlands were extremely well received. Results of the show can be found here.
Due to so much activity surrounding the National Gathering, the Centreville Fair suffered for number of entries, but as usual, Eddie MacKay and Rick Milliman supported the Highland Classes in Style. Results of the show can be found here.
Had a great couple of weeks and now the Michigan shows have come and gone and we can get back to business. Had a great show at both the MASH in Novi, at the Michigan State Fair, and at St Joseph County at Centreville. Have to plug for the MASH though; cattle are housed and shown inside the Suburban Collection Showcase, fully air-conditioned and extremely comfortable. As opposed to Centreville in the middle of September, with some of our hottest weather saving up to wear on us and the cattle. Blistering heat and humidity made Centreville again a haven of cattle hosers, spending part of each afternoon cooling the animals down before putting them back in the barn. Saturday of Fair week finally saw the temperatures drop dramatically, to the point of requiring heavy coats. Welcome relief. We had a good turnout for both shows with some of the cattle pulling repeat performances. Notably: Snowland First Lady pulled a Michigan coup, defeating all comers at our three shows for rights to call herself THE Cow/Calf Champion. (She just completed the World Beef Expo in Wisconsin and finished as Reserve Grand Champion there.) She received numerous complements from all judges. CBS Josie was awarded Grand Champion Heifer at both Centreville and Novi, while Dundonald’s Cho Sona was awarded Grand Champion Bull at Centreville and Gray Owl’s Scooter was handed the same title two weeks earlier at Novi.
Snowland First Lady with calf Snowland Lady's Lily awarded Grand Champion Cow/Calf
An excellent time was had by all at the UP State Fair Highland Cattle Show in mid August. We had 51 animals entered, qualifying us for Superpoint Statis for the ROE Show next year.
Grand Champion Cow/Calf went to Snowland First Lady with Snowland Lady's Lily at side, bred and owned by Snowland Livestock.
LEA Niadh won Reserve Grand Champion Bull, bred and owned by LEA-White Farms
Windemere Firefly won Reserve Grand Champion Heifer, owned and bred by Windemere Farm
15 year old LEA Yellow Jacket wowed the judge with her age and quality, winning Reserve Grand Champion Cow with LEA Oriana,her 13th calf, at side. She is owned by LEA-White Farms and bred by the late Ferris and Jean Leach.
The Junior Show was also a major success for Midwest Junior member Ellie Mitchell of Symbiosis Ranch Mt. Pleasant, MI. Ellie received Junior Grand Champion Breeding Heifer with Symbiosis Lady O'Tula, who also took Reserve Jr. Yearling Heifer in the Open Show the next day. This is Ellie's first year of showing and her first trip to the National Competition in Denver. Ellie attended the summer cow camp here in Michigan and loved her experience.
Ellie Mitchell congratulated by the Judge as her heifer is awarded Grand Champion Jr. Breeding Heifer.
STR Special Edition takes Reserve Grand Champion Bull for Symbiosis Ranch.
Grand Champion Bull Finley Falls Duncan stands in the sale ring as his semen straws sell for $275.00 each
A legacy in the sales ring, as Dundonald's Amy Ruadh sells, standing behind her dam and sister, with a pedigree tracing back to one of the first cows Eddie MacKay ever showed at the NWSS.
The Midwest Highland Cattle Association serves Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio as a regional affiliate of the American Highland Cattle Association.
The goals of the Midwest Highland Cattle Association are to:
Highland Cattle draw a crowd wherever they are found. Highlands are an old breed whose time has come. With the ability to thrive in less than ideal circumstances, outstanding mothering instincts, longevity, and very low calf mortality, they are the type of beef animal that is in demand for today’s market.
The Highland breed has lived for centuries in the rugged remote Scottish Highlands. The extremely harsh conditions created a process of natural selection, where only the fittest and most adaptable animals survived to carry on the breed. Originally there were two distinct classes: the slightly smaller and usually black Kyloe, whose primary domain was the islands off the west coast of northern Scotland; the other, a larger animal generally reddish in color, whose territory was the remote Highlands of Scotland. Today both of these strains are regarded as one breed - the Highland. In addition to the original strains, yellow, dun, white, brindle and silver are also considered traditional colors.
The first Highland herd book was published in Scotland in 1884. Although the Shorthorn, Hereford and Angus herd books were all published many years prior to that of the Highland breed, there is little doubt that Highlands are probably the oldest recognizable breed of cattle in the world. Importations to the USA and Canada began in the late 1800's. Today Highlands are found throughout North America, as well as in Europe, Australia and South America.
Highlands require little in the way of shelter, feed supplements, or expensive grain to achieve and maintain good condition. Cold weather and snow have little effect on them. They are raised as far north as Alaska and the Scandinavian countries. They also adapt fairly well to more southerly climates with successful herds as far south as Texas and Georgia. Less than ideal pasture or range land is another reason to consider the Highland breed. These cattle are excellent browsers, able to clear a brush lot with speed and efficiency. Despite long horns and an unusual appearance, Highlands are even-tempered, bulls as well as cows. They can be halter trained easily.
The business end of any beef animal is the amount and quality of the beef it produces. Today’s market demands lean, premium meat. The Highland carcass is ideally suited to meet this challenge. Highland beef is meat that is lean, well marbled and flavorful with little outside waste fat (they are insulated by long hair rather than a thick layer of fat). Highland and Highland crosses have graded in the top of their respective classes at the prestigious National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado. In the British Isles, Highland beef is recognized as the finest available and fetches premium prices. The British Royal family keeps a large herd of Highlands at Balmoral Castle, near Braemar, Scotland, and considers them their beef animal of choice.
Today’s cattle market is demanding. Regardless of whether you are a small farm with only a few head or a large ranch with hundreds, your objective should be the same … to produce a fine cut of beef with as little effort and expense as possible. Highlands are the breed to help you do this. Whether your interest is in purebreds or cross breeding, we are confident that the Highland will improve your bottom line.
The Highland is a unique and beautiful animal … truly "the breed apart."
Title photo by Dan Price