At The Plan we have some of the finest suckler cows bred to suit the climatic conditions of the West Coast of Scotland. A suckler cow is one that spends her life rearing one calf each year. Ours spend their whole year free-ranging on the herb-rich pastures of this low lying island where grass grows year-round thanks to the benefits of the mild Gulf-stream climate.
Since coming to Bute in 1994 we have developed our own breeding policy to maximise the wholly natural environment in which our cows live. This majors upon the use of native British breeds which have the heritable trait of foraging wild pastures to produce the finest beef progeny. Our foundation cow is the South Devon, the largest and most docile of all the native breeds, easy to handle, produces loads of milk for her calf and can live outdoors all winter. She is crossed with the Luing – a Scottish breed established almost 50 year ago. The cross of these two breeds produces our replacement heifers which join the main herd to produce their first calf in their second or third year, calving takes place from mid-March to early May.
In addition to these deep red cows you will also see some with white faces. These come from crossing the Devon-Luing cow with the Simmental. The heifers from this three-way cross grow into suckler cows that are in great demand on mainland Scotland.
Whilst always being aware that suckler cows rearing a calf can be 'protective' of their offspring, especially during the first fews days after calving, you will be able enjoy the delight of these gentle cows munching away in the wide open spaces of The Plan.