Raby herd is judged best in the north
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
PEOPLE who stop to admire the majestic cattle gently grazing in front of Raby Castle are looking at the best longhorn herd in the north.
The award was made during the Northern Longhorn Society’s annual meeting earlier this month.
The society covers breeders from Yorkshire, in the south, up to Inverness, in Scotland.
Not only did the herd win as a collective, but Raby Estates also clinched the best senior cow, best home bred cow and best senior heifer titles.
Raby Estate’s farm consultant Robert Sullivan said a concerted effort began three years ago to improve the herd.
He added: “We have gone through the breeding lines to improve the herd and this is recognition that we are on the right track.
The herd consists of 28 cows and one bull named Southfield Puma. The bull was bred from beasts from two of the main breeders in the country, with the dam coming from Southfields Longhorns, near Bradford, and the sire from the Blackbrook herd, near Leicester.
It was two of his offspring that won titles at this year’s awards, with Raby Noir being named best senior cow and best home-bred cow, while Raby Shelly was crowned best senior heifer.
Vets will confirm this week if Raby Shelly is carrying her first calf to continue the proud bloodline.
Mr Sullivan said meat from the herd is used to supply High Force Hotel as well as the café at Raby Castle and the hope is that to have surplus stock in the future to sell on for breeding.
Some of the herd are being used to re-wild a nearby field.
Mr Sullivan said that unlike other breeds which wrap their tongue around the grass and yank it out, longhorns nibble at the grass, thereby helping create a more diverse ground.