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Tag archives for “Highland Cattle”


From the Ranch

March 2016

Originating in Scotland, Highland Cattle have long, shaggy hair and horns to withstand harsh elements year-round and March marks the beginning of their calving season. Our cows, heifers and calves live in Tomales at our 650 acre Tomales Station ranch.

There are Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) easements on a large portion of Tomales Station. We partnered with Point Blue Conservation Science’s Students & Teachers Restoring A Watershed program (STRAW), Marin Resource Conservation District (MRCD), MALT and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to implement a Riparian Revegetation Plan at Tomales Station, the last ranch before Tomales Bay. The purpose of this plan is to minimize and control erosion to improve water quality (this water feeds directly into Tomales Bay), riparian vegetation and connect existing riparian corridors. In addition, this work helps to optimize pasture productivity and quality in order to contribute to the ecological and economic sustainability of the ranch (AKA give our cows, heifers and calves beautiful green grass to munch on, while maintaining plant and water quality).

If you didn’t know there was a difference between a cow and a heifer, there is! Cows have already had a calf; a heifer is a cow that hasn’t had a calf yet. Highland cattle have a long reproductive life, 10-12 years, compared to other breeds (approximately 8 years for Angus). Cows have been known to give birth to twins, however, it isn’t ideal because they cannot produce enough milk to feed multiple calves.

Calves are slowly weened from their mother’s milk (a gradual process in which grass is introduced into their diet over 8 to 10 months). They are completely separated from their mothers when they are healthy enough to survive without any milk. This also gives the cows time to recover before their next pregnancy. Once all of the calves are completely weened, they are all moved together, because animals do better in herds of similar size and age.

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