It's hard to get the best of all attributes in a single breed of cattle but Welsh Black cattle come closer than most.
- Sound Constitution
- Crossing Ability
- Mothering Ability
- Feed Conversion
- Calving Ease
- Growth Rate
- Meat Quality
- Milking Ability
- Maternal Sires
Welsh Blacks are a true hill country breed, originally dual purpose. They are a naturally horned breed but a number of breeders have developed a polled strain, both types are readily available.
The ideal Welsh Black should have a long, wide and deep body, a straight top line, plenty of bone and covered with a fairly long, thick and mossy, rusty black or black coat. In summer and in hot climates this coat is replaced with a smooth, glossy coat. There is a red factor present in some individuals, these are now eligible for registration. General liveweights on a normal sheep and beef operation are mature cows should weigh 600-800 kg and bulls generally weigh 950-1150 kg however some have tipped the scales as heavy as 1391kg.
Hardiness and Adaptability:
Welsh Black cattle have a history of being raised in harsh, outdoor environments and unimproved pasture. They have retained their ability to convert rough feed into weight gain and a willingness to forage. In a large Southland herd, cows are wintered on tussock with no supplements and also calve there. They have developed a good constitution and freedom from disease, thus enabling drenching of young stock for example to be kept to a minimum.
Mothering Ability & Calving Ease:
Because they are easy calving, almost all Welsh Black calvings are paddock births and no formal birth data is available, but some recorded weights are 33 - 37kg for heifers and with bulls occasionally up to 10kg heavier. Cows have a long, even lactation up to 300 days, typically sacrificing their own condition to continue feeding their calves when conditions are less favourable. Cows have a long productive life of 15 - 20 years. Docility of the breed makes handling relaxed and enhances conception with AI. Calves are vigorous and hardy and do not present feeding problems in dairy operations.