• October 23, 2023

Cattle breed with natural polled trait and high meat/milk quality

The British White

British White cattle are naturally polled and can be recognised by black or red points on the muzzle, feet and ears. This is a herding breed that is both hardy and thrifty.

They are able to efficiently convert grass into premium marbled beef with low inputs. The cows are excellent mothers and produce very rich milk.

Origin

The British White is a naturally polled (hornless) large dual purpose breed of cattle with the ability to milk. It is a pure breed, with an uninterrupted lineage going back to the ancient indigenous wild horned white cattle of England and Wales.

The breed was developed around the seventeenth century by crossing white polled cattle from Whalley Abbey in Lancashire with herds of ‘wild’ hornless cattle that roamed north-east England. This herd is credited with being the fountainhead of the breed. The herd dispersed to Gisburne and Somerford before Mary Assheton took the breed to Norfolk at Gunton Park.

The breed is docile, hardy and very fertile with a good carrying capacity for calves. The cows have well set, tight udders with small black teats. The skin is pink with dark pigmentation, this eliminating problems of sunburn and eye disease. The breed is also very prepotent, with a high percentage of twins per herd. The British White is one of the few breeds in the world to have this natural ability.

Characteristics

British whites are large naturally polled dual purpose cattle with excellent beef and milking qualities. They are docile and very easy to handle. They are very hardy and have a very good ability to survive harsh or extreme conditions, such as hot or cold climates.

They are top notch producers of high quality beef which is very tender and highly marbled with a low fat content. This meets today’s consumer demands with the weight consciousness and move toward low cholesterol content.

They are known for their heat tolerance and frequently sit or lie in the sun while other breeds seek a shady spot. They are also able to graze rough vegetation such as rushes, nettles and heather as well as browse shrubs and trees. They are healthy with resistance to tuberculosis, viral pneumonia and a very low incidence of arthritis and calving difficulties. Their strong black hooves hold their shape and are housed stock seldom need hoof paring.

Breeding

The British White is a dual purpose cattle breed, large naturally polled and known for their fertility, milkiness and calving ease. It is also a good meat breed, producing lean meat of high quality with excellent texture and flavour.

It is a highly adaptable breed, and a good choice for mixed herds. The breed’s ability to graze well enables it to use feed efficiently and reduce the amount of concentrates required.

Until recently the British White was one of the rare breeds, but as interest in the breed has grown so the numbers have strengthened and it no longer falls into the RBST category of minority breeds. The breed has a very healthy genetic history and shows great resistance to tuberculosis and viral pneumonia. They have a very high heat tolerance and will often sit or lie down to rest during the hottest weather. This is a good trait for keeping them in good health during times of drought.

Health

In England and Wales, the list of write-in response options in equality questions on government services includes ‘White’. This category does not represent how everyone identifies themselves, and people can also select ‘Other’ or write in their own group name.

Ethnic minority groups have young age structures in comparison to the wider population, reflecting historic migration patterns. However, their health outcomes deteriorate with age and this is compounded by ongoing restrictions from opportunities that structural racism can create.

Inequalities in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) at older ages, as measured by the GP Patient Survey, are higher for most minority ethnic groups than for White British. This may be related to a combination of factors, including the likelihood that people from these groups have poor experiences of primary care and less support from local services to manage long-term conditions, as well as living in more socially deprived neighbourhoods. This is exacerbated by a lack of confidence in managing their own health, particularly for men.

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