The Arbigland Pedigree Herd
We diversified into beef in 2005 when we established a herd of pedigree Luings. The Luing is a composite breed based on the Shorthorn and the Highland breeds developed on the Island of Luing in the latter half of the 20th Century.
From our point of view they tick all the boxes being:
- hardy enough to stay outside all year
- excellent foragers for our grass based system
- docile to handle
- fertile, milky and good mothers
- low maintenance with good feet
- fast growing with hybrid vigour
- capable of producing premium quality beef with high scoring carcasses
- a beautiful enhancement to the landscape with their palette of red, roan and white coats!
We currently have around 180 suckler cows. The Luings are either bred pure to Luing bulls (visit the Luing Cattle Society website ) and we also cross them with Simmental and Aberdeen Angus bulls to provide replacements for the commercial side of the herd.
Bulls that are not kept for breeding are fattened on farm and go away fat at 12-14 months, averaging around 330kg DW for the Luings and 330kg for Sim-Luings and scoring R4L. Aberdeen Angus bull calves are castrated prior to weaning and finished as steers.
Our heifers have to be able to calve at 24 months to stay in the herd as we took the view that there is no point in having thrifty, low maintenance cows if they cost a whole year's extra keep without having a calf. We believe that this is how nature intended it and by enforcing this rule we have ended up with more fertile, easier calving cows that do not grow too big. Recent scientific research has confirmed that heifers calved at 2 years old become milkier cows as leaving them unbulled stops the development of mammary cells and encourages them to lay down fat instead.
The Luing bulls that we have used in the past and have made Arbigland cows what they are today are Wooplaw Dunkirk, Drinkstone Hamilton and College Kasper. For the 2015 bulling campaign we have Attonburn Rebus and Culmaily Rockstar. For crossing to breed Sim-Luings we have Simmental bull: Courance Bullet, a very strong son of Hockenhull Socrates. For crossing for breeding commercial cattle and Aberdeen Angus X breeding heifers we have Longbank Emperor. We aim to breed for length and fleshing ability as well as the key maternal traits such as udder and teat conformation and genetic traits such as tenderness.
We pay particular attention to herd health:
- We are a closed herd and being surrounded by water our cattle do not go "nose to nose" with stock from neighbouring farms. They are watered from mains water or captured rainwater rather than from burns to avoid catching anything.
- We are in the Premium Cattle Health Scheme and accredited for BVD since 2008 and Johnes (R3) since 2009.
- We vaccinate for leptospirosis and IBR and dose for worm & fluke regularly.
- We are in a low risk TB area and our last test in Nov 2014 was clear.
Pedigree Herd Gallery
Video of our Luing cow herd