PURE GRASS BEEF
photo from: THE BOOK OF Live Stock Champions Being an Artistic Souvenir Supplement Of The Monthly National Farmer and Stock Grower, COMPILED AND PUBLISHED BY PHILIP H HALE , 1912, page 300.
Profitable stock feeding: a book for the farmer, By Howard Remus Smith, 1910
Excerpt from GALLOWAY CATTLE, by S. P. CLARK
The history of polled cattle is co-existent with history itself, and of Polled Galloway cattle distinctly, for more than three centuries. The breed, Galloway, derives its name from the province in Scotland thus called, comprising formerly the six counties lying west of a line drawn from Glasgow to Carlisle on the English border. The word from which Galloway is derived—Gallovid—signifies a Gaul, the Gauls being the early inhabitants of this territory, and doubtless bringing with them the first cattle of the kind now known by their name. Heroditus tells us when writing, centuries ago, of the land north and east of the Caspian sea, that "the tribes there are great feeders of cattle and in the part Garrhus (the early home of the Gauls) the beeves have not horns."
For several centuries now, the Galloway district has comprised but the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright and the shire of Wigton, a tract less than a hundred miles in length and fifty miles in breadth, with a very undulating and diversified surface, ranging from the granite hills and low broken mountain ranges on the north and east to the fertile river valleys and low lands along the sea.
Originally the whole of this land was covered with forests of oak. "It was all thickly wooded in the days of the Romans when they marched through it, made their roads, raised their forts and feasted on good Galloway beef."
From various sources we find references to these good cattle. In the reign of Alexander III, 1249, a compiled history of Scotland has this: "Black cattle were also reared during the Scoto-Saxon period in great numbers. The dairy was a considerable object of attention in the early ages of Scottish history, and cheese had been made in great abundance. As the people lived much on animal food, the cattle were all consumed within the land, while their skins formed a considerable articleof export." Again later, Ortelius, a celebrated geographer and author, writing in 1573, says: "In Carrick (then part of Galloway) are oxen of large size, whose flesh is tender, sweet and juicy" Thus, although the origin of the Galloways is dim in the mists of antiquity, there is unvarying and recurrent testimony to their unadulterated type...
Immediately after the union of England and Scotland the farmers and graziers in Norfolk and other southeastern counties of England became extensive purchasers of these Scotch Polled cattle. This active demand at good prices induced the breeders to do their utmost to produce excellent beasts, and all authorities unite in testifying to the success of their efforts. Towards the end of the last century some 30,000 cattle were sent from Galloway a distance of some 400 miles, to these English counties, where improved husbandry was making rapid strides.
Those cattle as they passed on foot through three-fourths of the entire length of England were warmly admired for their size, style and symmetry. Aiton says of the breed at this time, "It is well known that the Galloway breed of cattle have by the attention of the inhabitants been brought to a degree of perfection for feeding equal or superior to any breed in Great Britain. They possess all the excellencies of shape, size, constitution and quality that can recommend them to English graziers. They are spirited, strong, very healthy, very handsome and hardy, and no cattle whatever feed better or yield beef that is more relished at table, as can be well attested in all parts of South Britain."
Smith in his Agricultural Survey of Galloway written at the beginning of the present century: "Beauty, symmetry and proportion, fineness of bone, thinness or mellowness of skin, softness and glossiness of hair, are valuable only as they indicate a tendency to grow, thrive and fatten (the italics are Smith's), to be reared at the least expense and afford meat of the most excellent quality. In all these essential properties none will deny that the Galloways possess a very high degree of merit, are equaled by few and excelled by none. Their condition is often astonishing when compared with their pastures. Their weight is no less so when compared with the apparent bulk of the animal. But what above all may be regarded as decisive of the merits of the Galloway breed is the uniform testimony of the Norfolk graziers who have long given them the preference to every other breed of cattle. In the London market where all the breeds of the island come in competition they are generally allowed a decided preference. It need not be added that the meat is in great request, being of the very very best quality; of a delicate grain, firm, fat, juicy and finely marbled"
BUREAU OF ANIMAL INDUSTRY US DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE BULLETIN NO 34 AMERICAN BREEDS OF BEEF CATTLE WITH REMARKS ON PEDIGREES, GEORGE M. ROMMEL, BSA, 1902, PLATE XII
text from: THE BRITISH PLEISTOCENE MAMMALIA,By W. BOYD DAWKINS, M.A., F.R.S., G.S., &C., 1878, page XIV
The polled or hornless cattle of the present day have undoubtedly been derived through careful breeding from the horned cattle. The Galloway breed has lost its horns principally through the care of the grandfather of the present Earl of Selkirk to whom I am indebted for the account given in full in the notes.* Some fifty or sixty years were consumed in bringing the animal to its present shape and form.
* The breed a hundred and fifty years ago was not generally polled( ie without horns) though there was always a good many polled ones amongst them. Polled ones are found in every breed. My informant was an old man who died about thirty years ago, he being then near ninety. He was the son of the man who tended the cows for my grandfather and had been employed among cattle all his life. In his old age while still able to work he tended my cows. His name was James McKinnan and he was a man whose recollections seemed always remarkably clear. He had been with cattle as far as Norfolk to St Faith's fair. He told me that in the days of his childhood a Norfolk feeder who bought many of the Galloway cattle fancied those without horns and would give 2s 6d or so more for a polled than for a horned beast. This set the fashion and the people began first to look for polled bulls and none other. Then they preferred the polled cows etc to breed from and thus the change was effected in, I believe, from fifty to sixty years. The horns of the Galloway beast were very ugly, drooping and as thick at the point as at the root. I have myself seen one or two beasts with horns like that but nowadays when horns appear they are generally traced to some cross with an Irish brute. Those that are born polled have a lump in the centre of the forehead which is very hard and will break another bull's skull for him.
The Galloways are best adapted for a cold, damp climate, their special qualifications for these conditions being ruggcdness and a thick coat of hair that protects them from cold and rain. They have been found very suitable for Dakota, Montana, and Idaho ranches, and for the Canadian Northwest. Being of a rather small frame and very muscular and active, they are well adapted to rugged pastures.
The Galloway is a thick, low-set, symmetrical, black, polled animal, resembling somewhat the Aberdeen-Angus. In good animals the head is short and broad, without any trace of horns or scurs, and is surmounted by a poll that is not quite as sharp as that of the Aberdeen-Angus. The ears are set a little farther back than those of the Aberdeen-Angus and point forwards and upwards, and have a fringe of long hair. The body is cylindrical but somewhat longer and flatter in the rib than that of the Aberdeen-Angus. The Galloway is especially vigorous and robust in constitution, and is able to withstand a rigorous climate. The body is covered with a long, thick, curly coat, especially in winter.
In size, the Galloway hardly equals the Shorthorn, Hereford, or Aberdeen-Angus. Galloway steers can usually be made to weigh from 1,000 to 1,200 pounds as yearlings past; from 1,200 to 1,400 pounds at 2 years old; and from 1,400 to 1,600 pounds at 3 years old. Mature bulls will weigh about 1,800 to 1,900 pounds, and mature cows from about 1,200 to 1,500 pounds.
The meat of the Galloway has long been prized for its good quality. It is fine grained and well flavored, the fat and the lean being well marbled, with a large percentage of lean. Galloways fatten smoothly and uniformly, without any tendency to patchiness. They are good grazers and feeders, and when fed well they will mature rapidly and produce fine carcasses. The Galloway has been criticized as being slow maturing; it is being improved in this respect, but is not yet the equal of the Shorthorn, Hereford, or Aberdeen-Angus.
Like all other breeds of cattle that have been reared under natural and severe conditions, the Galloway is excellent in breeding qualities, but these become impaired by pampering or too rapid forcing.
A Galloway cross on an animal of almost any of the beef breeds will produce a good beef animal; the "blue-gray" steers that are so highly prized on the London markets are crosses of the Galloway and the Shorthorn. A Galloway bull is valuable in grading up a common beef herd, especially in localities to which the Galloway is peculiarly adapted. On account of having being bred pure for a great length of time, the Galloway is very prepotent.
By American Galloway Breeders' Association, Agricultural & Arts Association of Ontario
GALLOWAY CATTLE. The cut below represents a cow of the celebrated Scotch Highland or Galloway breed. This variety is generally of a black color, and without horns. It is considered among the most ancient breeds of Great Britain, and one of the hardiest, thriftiest, most docile, and most profitable. Many thousands are annually bred among the Highlands of Scotland, where they remain till two or three years old, and are then bought up by the drovers and driven to the richer pastures and milder climate of England. Here they usually remain from six months to a year, and are then taken to the London market. Their meat is considered the finest in England, and commands from half a cent to two cents more per pound than any other kind. They are acknowledged, upon the whole, to be the most profitable beast for the grazier and butcher that is reared and fattened in Great Britain. The cows give a moderate mess of rich milk.
We notice that Youatt, Lowe, and other British writers say : that attempts have been made to improve the Galloways by a cross of the Short-Horn bull without success. This positive assertion needs qualification. We were informed, when in England, that this was true only so far as regards the larger and coarser families of Short Horns; but where a very fine-boned bull of good points and medium size was resorted to for one cross, and the Galloway always then bred back again, it was attended withmarked success. By this this means, the descendants had gained in symmetry of form and handling, and in earlier maturity: and lost nothing in hardiness nor in the superior quality of their beef. This cross, after the second generation, rarely showed a vestige of Short-Horn blood—except in superiority of form.
This breed has been greatly improved in Scotland within a few years past; and the finest and best of them are now little inferior in point of form to the celebrated Short Horas. Being of medium sue, hardy, quick to mature, of fine points, and so superior for beef, we have often recommended them to our countrymen, as a highly valuable raee to propagate in the colder latitudes, and among the, hilly and mountainous districts of the United States. They can endure short pastures; and are so active, that they get about with greater ease than the larger sorts. We speak from our own knowledge, having often seen them in England, and conversed with the graziers and butchers respecting their merits, and in comparison with other breeds.
text from EmbryoPlus: Cattle Breeds
The Galloway, unrivaled as a grazing breed, utilizes coarse grasses and browse frequently shunned by other breeds. Furthermore, their ability to produce a high quality beef product directly from grass, has true economic value in that it is not necessary to feed grains to 'finish' them. The Galloway steer, whether grass or grain fattened, can produce the ideal 600-750 pound carcass.
The Galloway is a maternal breed. The cows are easy calvers, while the calves themselves are hardy, vigorous and have a 'will to live' that gets them up and nursing quickly.
The Galloway is long-lived, with many cows producing regularly into their teens and beyond. This trait alone can determine much of the economics and efficiency of any cattle operation.
Due to the breed's naturally dense, insulating hair coat the Galloway does not layer on excessive outside fat, which would only end up on the butcher's floor at slaughter time. Results of a multi-breed research project conducted by a Canadian Government Experiment Station, reveal that the Galloway ranks second only to the Buffalo in hair density tests.
The robust, hardy nature of the Galloway has never been disputed. Though considered a breed for northern climates, the Galloway has been found to acclimate amazingly well to warmer regions.
The claim that Galloway beef is juicy, tender, and flavorful is substantiated in recent USDA tests of Galloway crossbreds, when compared with eleven other breeds.
Results of the Cycle IV Germ Plasm Evaluation (GPE) Program at the USDA Meat Animal Research Center (MARC), Clay Center, Nebraska, showed the Galloway crosses placing at the top of the chart for flavor, juiciness and tenderness.