The farming column with Sam Walton

Seeing Limousine cattle close up was an eye opener.
Seeing Limousine cattle close up was an eye opener.

Cattle are always of interest to most people, farmers or otherwise and although we still have at least 12 traditional breeds in the UK, there has been a fascination in the industry generally for imported breeds, mainly from Europe.

Names like Limousine, Charolais, Simmental, Maine Anjou, Salers and Gelbvieh spring to mind. Many of them are extremely muscled, none more so than the Belgium Blue – to the extent where they can often require a caesarean operation at calving time.

It seems strange that double muscled animals are often associate with Belgium, as they also have a heavy muscled horse, a double breasted turkey and of course the Pietrain pig, which if bred pure has a lean meat percentage of around 62%, relative to our local breeds here starting at around 56 or 57%. As the continentals get paid on lean meat, I can understand why they use them, despite smoother difficulties double muscling gives.

I often wonder why Belgium is so blessed with all this extra shape.

What made me think about this was after a neighbour who is a leading Limousine breeder and a former chairman of the Limousine Association here, had an open day, attended by many from all over the UK, to show some of the bulls and heifers they were breeding.

The whole day was a credit to them as the farm looked extremely tidy and they also breed and show Shire Horses and have a range of old wagons and other horse drawn vehicles.

On top of that they also do bed and breakfast pigs and have large poultry business too. So to say the day was a success is perhaps a bit of an understatement and to see some of these Limousines up close is a bit of an eye opener.