About Belted Galloways
The breed started and was developed in the austere hill country in the Galloway area of south-west Scotland and is believed to have originated more than 300 years ago the result of crossing the Galloway with the Dutch Lakenvelder.
The “Beltie” is naturally polled and has striking colourings of black, red or dun, with a white belt. For sheer eye appeal, no breed is more distinctive in the paddock and the term “beautiful Belties” is often used. They have a “double coat ” of hair, consisting of a long, shaggy overcoat and a soft, thick undercoat, providing excellent insulation in cold, bleak weather and reducing the amount of feed intake required to maintain body weight.
Belted Galloways have several traits which will fit in with just about any crossbreeding program and the targeting of all domestic and export markets. Belted Galloway are known for a number of their rare and quality traits. Some of these traits are listed below:
Belted Galloways have a reputation for longevity – many are reputed to live until 17 to 20 years of age.
The Belted Galloway’s heavy, double hair coat means that heat loss is reduced, winter feed costs are significantly less and rain hardly penetrates in cold, wet weather. The Belted Galloway cow has about 4000 hairs to the square inch making the coat resistant to severe cold. “Belties” have, in fact, been used on stations with an annual rainfall as low as 150 mm and with their superior foraging ability, have thrived in these harsh, pastoral areas.
“Belties” are able to adapt to a variety of climatic conditions. They have good foraging abilities, ensuring that they thrive where other breeds fail. The coat is shed in hot weather, thus making the “Beltie” a highly adaptable and versatile breed for a variety of climatic conditions.
The Belted Galloway is an extremely fertile breed; the cows are long lived, regular breeders and are noted for their ability to produce a healthy, well nourished calf at weaning, even in the harshest of conditions. Some Belted Galloways have had two separate calves in one year. One cow in Australia has even produced three lots of twins in a row.
Belted Galloway are known for their ease of calving producing a live calf every year. The “Beltie” Breed is naturally polled and when crossed with another breed it will prevent the growth of horns in virtually all cases.
The breed was evolved in a harsh environment, resulting in high disease resistance and the ability to survive in the toughest of conditions. Belted Galloway breeders find that their cattle are more resistant to pink eye, insects and foot problems than many other breeds.
Excellent mothering ability
The cows are renowned for their mothering ability, producing enough rich milk to wean a large and healthy calf.
Feed conversion efficiency
Tests have shown that the Galloway requires the least amount of feed per kilogram of weight gain making the cattle efficient converters. Belted Galloways consume more varieties of flora than any other breed on tests conducted in Germany.
Belted Galloway breeders find that Belted Galloway possess a quiet disposition and are easily handled and when managed properly.
Excellent Beef Qualities
Belted Galloway Beef has been shown in a research study conducted at the University of Guelph – to have a total fat content of about 2%, an extremely low percentage. The same study showed that the Belted Galloway Beef tested only contained about 1% saturated fat. In addition it showed that Belted Galloway beef had the same fat content as chicken and fish so fits in well with a healthy diet. Belted Galloway beef is exceptionally tender, full of flavour and juicy and were the winners of the 2003 Sydney Royal Show “Beef Taste Test”. Data collected in the U.S. has shown that the beef dresses out at 60 – 62% of live weight making it a very profitable breed.
A mature Belted Galloway Bull can weigh between 815 and 955 kilograms although some are smaller and others larger. A cow ranges from 400 to 600 kilograms, new born heifers weigh, on average around 30 kilograms and a bull calf can be 35 kilograms and sometimes more. “Beltie” calves weaned at 205 days, were about one half their mother’s weight.