Sustained growth in demand for Galloway cattle has been announced ahead of the Galloway Cattle Spring Show and Sale at Wallets Mart. The event, organised by the Galloway Cattle Society, takes on 16th February when 40 bulls and 36 in calf or bulling heifers will enter the sale ring.
The Society has announced that the Galloway has been removed from Defra’s UK Breed at Risk Register (UK BAR) after sustained and stable growth in registered cattle numbers, with breed registrations for the ancient native breed up 12% over the last year.
The UK BAR is a list of native livestock breeds considered to be at particular risk. The Galloway breed dropped below the 3,000 registered breeding females threshold in 2017, and removal of Galloways from UK BAR comes as steady growth has seen the population remain above the threshold for the past three years.
Increased demand for the breed is thought to be being driven by a combination of strong market demand for high quality Galloway beef, combined with growing interest in the suitability of the breed for low input and regenerative systems.
Dorothy Goldie, Breed Secretary of the Galloway Cattle Society said:
“While registrations of Galloway cattle never fell much below the 3,000 breeding females threshold, we are pleased that the breed is seeing stable and sustained growth, and the past year has seen that growth accelerate further.
“It’s particularly reassuring that a lot of the growth in demand for Galloways is coming from younger farmers and those who are switching to Galloways for environmental reasons. People are seeing how well aligned Galloways are with environmentally friendly farming systems, which is going to become more important in the future.”
Galloway Cattle are increasingly seen as a natural capital asset
An in-depth understanding of the priorities and interests of Galloway farmers by their Society is credited with playing an important role in the recovery of the Galloway breed. Over the last six years the Galloway Cattle Society has been exploring market development opportunities for the breed, underpinned by data and market insights gathered from their members. Amongst those insights is a strong and growing interest in the environment and climate.
A recent member survey found that 97% of Galloway farmers consider Net Zero to be an opportunity for the Galloway breed. Members anticipate the breed will be an excellent fit with the nature-based farming practices increasingly expected by policy makers, while almost half – 48% – of Galloway farmers stated that they are already farming regeneratively.
The survey also found that the environment and biodiversity are a high priority for Galloway farmers. More than half of respondents said they are currently making environmental improvements on their farm, with more than a third specifically focusing on increasing biodiversity.
Dorothy Goldie added:
“The Galloway breed has retained its ancient hardy traits, which means it’s now perfectly aligned with the demands of regenerative, low input systems. As our industry moves ever closer to net zero and regenerative production, the Galloway can bring its native strengths from the past right into the contemporary market.
“The Galloway is no longer an old-fashioned breed of the past – it’s a breed that’s ideal for the farming of tomorrow. I’d encourage anyone with an interest in Galloways to come along, chat with some of our members and see some fantastic examples of the breed at the show and sale next week.”
The Galloway Cattle Society Great Annual Spring Show and Sale takes place at Wallets Mart in Castle Douglas on Thursday 15th and Friday 16th February. The Show starts at 10.30am on Thursday, with the Sale of 40 bulls and 36 in calf or bulling heifers taking place on Friday 16th February from 11am, preceded by the Parade of Bulls at 10am.
To find out more information about the Galloway Spring Show and Sale and to download a catalogue, head to the Society’s website www.gallowaycattlesociety.co.uk
Or contact Dorothy Goldie on [email protected]