he Highland breed has lived for centuries in the rugged remote Scottish Highlands where extremely harsh conditions created a process of natural selection. Only the fittest and most adaptable animals survived to carry on the breed.

Highlands require little in the way of shelter, feed supplements or expensive grains to achieve and maintain good condition and fitness. In fact, Highland cattle seem to enjoy conditions in which may other breeds would perish. Cold weather and snow have little effect on them. They are raised as far north as Alaska and the Scandinavian countries.

Less than ideal pasture or range land is another reason to consider the Highland breed. It has been said that the Highland will eat what other cattle pass by - and get fat on it! The Highland is also an excellent browser, able to clear brush lots with speed and efficiency.

Today's market is demanding quality meat that is leaner and lower in cholesterol. The Highland carcass is ideally suited to meet this demand; it is lean, well-marbled and flavorful, with little outside waste fat (the Highland is insulated by long hair rather than a thick layer of fat).

We are using the unique browsing characteristics of Scottish Highland cattle to restore an overgrown wooded farm to a functioning prairie/oak savanna system which will increase the grass production on the farm. Scottish Highland cattle are known for enjoying brush as well as grass. Indeed they have survived for many centuries in the Scottish Highlands where grazing is limited. In spite of this moderate feed, the Scottish Highland breed has been valued for its beef quality as well as its hardiness, birthing and mothering abilities, and for its mild temperament as evidenced by both the cows and the bulls.

Our herd comprises of 20 mother cows. We work the cows twice a year when our veterinarian performs the vaccinating, worming, steering and pregnancy checks as needed. We keep the herd together with their young stock until such time that the heifers reach breeding age/size; it's so interesting to watch the dynamics of the herd as they socialize and function in their family groupings. They are given the time to grow and mature in a natural setting rather than in a confinement environment.

We are using the rotational grazing system through both the pastures and the woods. This allows the cattle to impact the wooded areas browsing the prickly ash and multiflora rose. As the brushy layer is reduced, the increased light allows for increased grass growth. This process of reducing the brushy understory layer is slow but avoids the use of heavy machinery and herbicides. Their non-selective grazing and foraging habits enhance the diversity of flora and improve the habitat for wildlife.

The Scottish Highland breed is known for its winter hardiness. We have no barn; they use the slopes and woods to take shelter from the prevailing winds. In the summer they shed their thick undercoat and do well in the Wisconsin heat.