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Growing demand revealed for Galloways

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By Fiona Reid
Farming
Growing demand revealed for Galloways

A SUSTAINED growth in demand for Galloway cattle has been announced ahead of the breed’s spring show and sale.

It takes place this Friday, February 16, at Wallets Mart, organised by the Galloway Cattle Society.

There will be 40 bulls and 36 in calf or bulling heifers in the sale ring.

Meanwhile, the Society has announced that the Galloway has been removed from Defra’s UK Breed at Risk Register (UK BAR) after sustained and stable growth in registered cattle numbers, with breed registrations for the ancient native breed up 12 per cent over the last year.

The UK BAR is a list of native livestock breeds considered to be at particular risk. Galloways dropped below the 3000 registered breeding females threshold in 2017, but steady growth has seen the population remain above the threshold for the past three years.

The increased demand is thought to be being driven by a combination of strong market demand for high quality Galloway beef, combined with growing interest in the suitability of the breed for low input and regenerative systems.

Society secretary Dorothy Goldie said: “We are pleased the breed is seeing stable and sustained growth, and the past year has seen that growth accelerate further.

“It’s particularly reassuring that a lot of the growth in demand for Galloways is coming from younger farmers and those who are switching for environmental reasons. People are seeing how well aligned Galloways are with environmentally friendly farming systems, which is going to become more important in the future.”

In addition, an in-depth understanding of the priorities and interests of Galloway farmers by the society is credited with playing a role in the recovery. Over the last six years the Galloway Cattle Society has been exploring market development opportunities for the breed, underpinned by data and market insights gathered from their members. Amongst those insights is a strong and growing interest in the environment and climate.

A member survey found 97 per cent of Galloway farmers consider Net Zero to be an opportunity for the breed. They anticipate it will fit with the nature-based farming practices increasingly expected by policy makers, while almost half revealed they are already farming regeneratively.

The survey also found the environment and biodiversity are a high priority for Galloway farmers.

Dorothy added: “The Galloway breed has retained its ancient hardy traits, which means it’s now perfectly aligned with the demands of regenerative, low input systems. As our industry moves ever closer to net zero and regenerative production, the Galloway can bring its native strengths from the past right into the contemporary market.

“The Galloway is no longer an old-fashioned breed of the past – it’s a breed that’s ideal for the farming of tomorrow.”

To find out more, go to their website.

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