Why Elm Hollow Farm Highlands Are Registered Through the AHCA
When we began our journey into the wonderful world of Highland Cattle, we were complete novices to not just Highlands, but to bovines in general. In fact, that was the very reason we chose Highlands. They are hardy, they are known for their docile behavior, and they’re aesthetically the most pleasing creatures we’d ever encountered.
We jumped in with both feet and in our enthusiasm purchased just about any heifer or cow that we found for sale at a price we thought was a bargain. Now don’t get me wrong; one of the two unregistered heifers, Edie, was what I still consider a very high-quality cow, the other was just a fabulous pet. They were friendly and we fell in love with them. But… they were not registered.
We also bought a few that were registered but they were not show quality — or what we’ve come to consider as show quality after a few years of familiarity with the breed. These were also at what we considered very reasonable prices and all have been rehomed. Pictured here is Edie. Even though her beautiful heifer calf, Bearnadette was sired by our AHCA registered bull, Big Ridge Bearnard, she could not be registered because Edie’s former owner had been careless with paperwork.
Then came our “ah-ha!” moment… you get what you pay for. Quality always costs a little more, but in the long run it is worth the investment. It takes some time and training to recognize that quality, and you make silly mistakes along the way, but eventually your eye is trained to check for everything.
Now comes the difficult question, “Which of our cows that lacks just one of the traits we are looking for, do we let go? And which ones do we keep as foundation stock?” All that we now have are good quality, but which ones will produce “GREAT QUALITY” calves? It is that challenge that keeps life interesting in the pasture and drives the important breeding decisions.
We are to the point this year of offering for sale those cows and calves that it hurts to part with. The ones we made the investment in to improve our stock. The ones that are registered with the AHCA and are potential show cows. These two proven cows I thought would never leave, but to make room for even better ones, and to give a new breeder an excellent start, they have been sold to a nearby farm – close enough that I can visit!
One of the bull calves is so beautiful we really wanted to keep him, but like too many cooks in the kitchen, too many bulls in the pasture is just not a good thing, so one lucky girl will have an outstanding 4H project. We have to make this tough decision at least 10 more times this year to make room for the new foundation stock we have purchased here at Elm Hollow Farm.
The next newsletter will have pictures of all the beautiful new Highlands that will reside here.