OALP Class XV Talk Beef Cattle and Sheep With Scottish Farm Operator George CorsarThu, 16 Feb 2012 16:45:29 CST
It was a damp afternoon as Class XV of the Oklahoma Ag Leadership Program began its ten days in Scotland and Ireland on Thursday- the afternoon stop at the Hartwood Home Farm as operated by the James Hutton Institute was especially interesting to the group.
The group found George Corsar, Farm Manager for the operation, engaging and very open to discussing a variety of questions during the ninety minute visit to this research operation. Corsar was proud of their beef cow herd of mostly Luing Cattle. Corsar says they are currently running about 200 beef cows on their 500 acre farm, which is used for a variety of research projects.
Besides the cattle, Hartwood also has a sizable sheep operation, with 500 ewes giving them a sizable number of lambs to sell mostly as finished fat lambs.
Corsar told the group about the Luing cattle breed. The Luing breed was evolved by the Cadzow brothers on the Island of Luing in Argyll off the west coast of Scotland. Admiring the outstanding complementary qualities of two great beef breeds – the Beef Shorthorn with its fleshing qualities and the Highlander with its ruggedness and hardiness, in 1947 they selected some of the best first cross Shorthorn/Highland heifers that could be procured . These heifers were bred to the Shorthorn bull Cruggleton Alastair. Two sons of this breeding were kept and mated to their half sisters: Luing Mist in 1952 and Luing Oxo in 1953. From then on, by following up this in-breeding with line-breeding, the Luing breed was firmly established and with many generations sired by Luing bulls, they proved themselves as breeding true to type. The British Government officially recognised the Luing as a breed in its own right in 1965.
Besides the Luing bloodlines, they are have many of the cows cross with Simmental as well as with Charolais.
One thing that is very obvious in this European cattle operation in contrast to a similar operation in Oklahoma is the way the Scottish producer keeps his beef cows in a confinement building. Corsar told us that it would be almost impossible to allow the beef cows to graze on their farm, because of year round rain fall that keeps the soil soft. For example, he said if you turned them out on a day like the group experienced on Thursday- you would end up with cattle sinking a foot down in many parts of the field. Instead, they are under cover in an open air facility that uses wood slats and a manure pit under the cattle. Corsar tells us that if you have adequate numbers of beef cows in the facility- they will trample the manure and push it through the slats into the pit and keep the floor relatively clear.
We talked with Groege Corsar about their Luing cattle- including a bit of their history as well as what sort of a mama cow they make- click on the LISTEN BAR below to take a listen. And, we have several pictures of the beef operation as well as their sheep that the class saw on the farm up on our FLICKR page- click here for the set of pictures we have established for the OALP travels in Scotland and Ireland.
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