Shaggy Show

June 01st, 2017
Shaggy Show
With community members gearing themselves for another cold winter, one of the most cold tolerant land mammals on Earth is ready to tackle the cool Hills climate as part of a celebration of all things Scottish.

Famous for their long haired coats and large curved horns, Highland cattle are more commonly found in areas known for cold wintry conditions such as Canada, Norway and of course their native home, the Scottish Highlands.

Despite being associated with these climates, the breed are surprisingly popular among Australian cattle farmers and are set to be the main attraction at the 2017 National Highland Cattle Show to be held at the Mt Pleasant Showgrounds.

Highland cattle breeder Scott Carter of Amrabull Park Fold in Nuriootpa is the show’s organiser and he said the breed are known to be able to acclimatise to almost any conditions.

“Not only are they one of the more intelligent and inquisitive breeds of cattle in the world but they’re also capable of surviving in a variety of different living conditions,” he said.

“They have two distinct coats and are able to shed a lot of their hair on their outer coat in order to adapt with their external surroundings.”

Scott has been working with Highland Cattle for around 15 years and said that the quality of the breed is something that he marvels at.

“They’re not only an amazing animal to look at because of their hair and the horns but they also produce really high quality beef,” he said.

“The beef is characteristically low in cholesterol and quite high in protein which separates it from other breeds.

“Highlands also have great feed conversion and are really low maintenance animals so they’re great for busy people or those with small acreage.”

The Mt Pleasant Showgrounds will play host for the third time in the national show’s history and Scott said the event has moved away from being just a cattle show and has become a celebration of Scottish culture.

“We made a decision when we hosted the event a few years back that we didn’t just want it to be another typical cattle show, but a unique and interesting showcase of Scotland,” he said.

“The cattle are still showcased and judged like they always have been but we have branched out into offering authentic Scottish food and music to give the show a more festival type atmosphere.”

Traditional Scottish dishes such as haggis – a pudding containing mixture of sheep heart, liver and lungs – will be available at the show with bagpipe music, medieval re-enactments and traditional Celtic dancing set to bring little bit of Scotland to the Hills.

The South Australian Highland Cattle Breeders group have also organised for a guest judge to be flown over from Scotland to judge the Highland Cattle showcase, which features cattle bred at folds from New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

Graham and Robyn Day have been breeding Highland cattle at their Springton property for around seven years and Graham said while judges still look for characteristics often associated with other breeds of cattle, there is still a level of Highland flair that separates the quality of the cow.

“Particular characteristics that set the cattle apart from other breeds is referred to as the Highland character and that is the unique part of the judging,” he said.

“Cows with a lot of hair and large horns that come straight out from the head before straightening slightly forward and upward are judged favourably. They also have a long fringe on their head called the dossan which should obscure the eyes of the animal.”

The 2017 National Highland Cattle Show will be held on June 11 at the Mt Pleasant Showgrounds and entry is free for all attendees.

For more information on the show contact Scott Carter on 0438 815 610.

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