THE first-ever pedigree Shetland cattle timed sale will be staged by leading livestock auctioneers Harrison & Hetherington.

Conducted on behalf of the Shetland Cattle Breeders Association (SCBA), the online auction will start on Thursday, September 30, at midday and will end 48 hours later on Saturday, October 2.

Founded in 2000 by a group of mainland UK breeders, the SCBA aims to conserve for future generations the valuable genetic resource Shetland cattle represent, and raise the profile of what is presently one of the country’s rarest native breeds.

The sale will allow the association to provide a platform for its breeders to sell their pedigree cattle to both potential new breeders and established herds.

The timed auction is for breeding stock – cows, heifers, and bulls. Entries for the sale are open until September 1, with the catalogue of entries ready to view from September 22. The sale is open to pedigree cattle registered with the Shetland Cattle Herd Book Society, with all animals offered for sale having full registration status or pending for young calves.

Heather Pritchard, pedigree sales & marketing manager at H&H, said: “In addition to attracting interest from a range of buyers, the sale will also help to raise the profile of the Shetland Cattle breed.”

With a reputation for quality and originally bred for their hardiness, Shetland Cattle are now spread throughout the length and breadth of the UK, with herds also established in Texas and Australia.

Across the UK, there are only 1,500 female Shetland Cattle, 15 percent of which can be found on the Shetland Islands themselves, with a further 50 percent in England and Wales, and the remainder spread throughout Scotland.

The females are ideal for crossing, producing terrific cross-bred suckler calves, and the cross-bred Shetland heifers to commercial bulls also produce tremendous beef calves. They are hardy, small-medium sized cattle who boast a long life.

Rosemary Champion, secretary of the Shetland Cattle Breeders Association, said: “People are increasingly looking for native breeds which are easy to rear, something Shetland Cattle are perfect for.

“They’re very robust and relatively self-sufficient, as well as being well suited to calving and producing premium beef. Their calmness has long been recognised, as well as their ability to readily out-winter in poor grazing conditions.”