All Things Old Are New Again… Even Cattle
South Devon cattle exhibitors from all over the rocky mountain region brought their prized livestock hundreds of miles to the 2022 National Western Stock Show. For most this was not their first livestock show they have participated in, Ryan Alter, the parent of an exhibitor from Hudson, Colorado being one of them.
“We love Devon cattle because, for me personally our family has a great connection to the past. This breed of animal took the settlers west on the Oregon Trail, this is the animal that you could milk to survive when you were put in a poor setting in the early colonial days and, at the same time, use it to pull a plow. You also had meat for your family at the end of the day when the animal was no longer able to do its normal work,” shared Alter.
Devon cattle are one of the only heritage breeds that are capable of giving 30 to 40 pounds of milk a day. That is nowhere near the average of 75 pounds of milk that a Holstein produces each day but Devon’s are ideal for individuals who want a smaller operation instead of a commercial dairy farm.
“If you have a small amount of land and perhaps don’t have a big set up that is okay. This animal can survive in a lot of different settings,” said Alter. “These animals have an incredible personality, they are incredibly intelligent and they are just really enjoyable animals that you can raise.”
As the old saying goes “all things old are new again,” perhaps that is the future for South Devon cattle.
By Tori Huckaby, 2022 NWSS Media Scholar