Killochries Fold crossing program started in the spring of 2008 with the purchase of the Shorthorn herd at Balgay, our farm in Perthshire, giving us access to some of the best bulls in the country.
In 2012 a pure Beef Shorthorn herd was also established at Killochries at the Drumcross location. Quality Shorthorn bulls are now available from us at both locations.
The Beef Shorthorn, rather than the White bred Shorthorn was chosen as the milk production from the Killochries cows was considered more than adequate to feed the larger calves that would be produced and that the Beef Shorthorn would leave a better carcass.
With the farm expanding to over 100 breeding, pure Highland, cows the economics of halter training, preparing and selling 50 pure bred females per annum was in question. There was and is, a strong commercial market for high quality crossbred Highland/Shorthorns, which sell in batches, privately or through the commercial markets.
In addition it is well understood that the hybrid vigour generated from the first cross will produce a calf who will inherit the best traits from both parents and being more efficient than the pure bred, the female will have better fertility, improved milk production good disease resistance and, in the case of the male, a faster maturing and more consistent carcass.
In the case of the female the effect of hybrid vigour will be enhanced by crossing again with a third breed sire be it Angus or Continental.
We have housed the cross bullocks during the winter in the sheds at Drumcross with the result that the best will finish off grass at the end of their second summer. The remainder will be housed for a second winter, even the smallest finishing well before two years old at a target weight of 550kg and a grade of R4L. This is the perfect butcher's steer.
There is an excellent commercial market for the females however, we intend to introduce an Aberdeen Angus bull to the first cross herd in 2013 and have already used these high health cross cattle to carry pure Shorthorn embryos.
If your are considering introducing Highland cattle to manage grassland, it would be worth considering crossing with a quality Beef Shorthorn bull as there is a ready commercial market for the cross calves.
As we breed both pedigree Shorthorn and pedigree Highland cattle we can supply breeders with both high quality Highlanders and high index, high health Shorthorn bulls.