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Welsh Black Cattle

Welsh Black cattle are one of the oldest British breeds.  The Welsh Black boasts fast growth in rate of gain and weight for age, long lactation periods in breeding females, vigorous fertile bulls and ideal temperament.  Welsh Black beef is the leanest of British beef, at the same time satisfying today’s demand for flavour, texture and marbling. Eating quality is excellent and the added rib depth contributes to a bigger carcase yield.

Welsh Blacks are a native 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 – easy to manage and capable of rearing strong pure or cross-bred calves that will suit both traditional and intensive beef finishing systems.

The hardy Welsh Black features outstanding economic characteristics: a thick coat that can remain long or sleek depending on the climate, tough, hard black hooves less prone to injury and a rumen capable of breaking down relatively course fibre.  It is this proven ability to convert rough grazing into milk for calves and into top quality beef that has secured its place in modern farming systems.  The Welsh Black is able to adapt easily and thrives in varying climates and conditions.

Genetic fertility is good and can be maintained at the standard 283 days, even under tough circumstances.  Most Welsh Black heifers 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 ten and fifteen years of age. Mature Welsh Black bulls weigh from 950 to 1300 kilos.  They reach puberty early and are vigorous, fertile breeders.  They are capable and willing to travel rough country to get the job done.

Registered Welsh Black animals were first imported into Australia from New Zealand in 1984 - a total of sixteen breeding females and one bull. Horned and polled Welsh Black cattle in Australia have gone from strength to strength and are now firmly established in herds throughout the continent.  Genetics continue to be imported from overseas, Welsh Black bulls are being used as terminal sires over commercial herds and there is strong demand for purebred breeding females.

www.welshblackcattlesociety.com.au


 

Welsh Black - The breed where quality comes naturally

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.

Origins

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.

Economics

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.

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