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Illinois Couple Breeds White Park Cattle
"It's the oldest documented cattle breed in the world, but we think it's also the breed of the future," says Ruby Hiel, Avon, Ill., who along with husband Schneider raises a purebred herd of White Park cattle.
White Park cattle date back more than 2,000 years. They're white with black ears, nose, and feet, and black pigment around the eyes, and are of medium size. Most are polled. The Hiels bought their first cow and calf in 1973 and added them to their mixed herd of Simmentals, Herefords, Shorthorns, and black whitefaces. They were so impressed with the breed that two years later they sold all their other cattle. They now sell registered White Park breeding stock to cattle producers throughout the U.S.
"White Park cattle grow like weeds and calve easily," says Hiel, who is secretary-treasurer of the Illinois White Park Cattle Association. "They possess all the traits that contribute to beef profitability - high fertility, calving ease, sound structure, fast, efficient growth, a quiet disposition, disease resistance, and high crossing value. They're extremely efficient producers and gain weight on poor roughage which would cause other cattle to lose weight. In fact, we've found that the grain feeding period before slaughter is much shorter than it is for other breeds. They hardly ever have eye problems because of the black pigment around the eyes. The calves are small at birth, but gain rapidly due to a good supply of milk. We've raised cattle that weighed up to 802 lbs. at 205 days, without any creep feeding. We've lost only five calves in 17 years. In the West, where Herefords are prevalent, ranchers use White Park bulls on first-calf Hereford heifers because Herefords have consider-able calving problems."
According to Hiel, White Parks were brought to England by Roman legions in 55 B.C. and grew up in the wilds of England completely unattended by man for more than 700 years. In 1919 the first White Park cattle association was formed in England. In 1940 a bull and five cows were sent to the U.S. to preserve the breed in case Germany invaded England. In 1975 a group of U.S. breeders formed The White Park Cattle Association of America. Since then, registration has steadily increased and there are now more than 7,000 registered White Park cattle in the U.S.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Schneider and Ruby Hiel, Rt. 2, Box 4, Avon, Ill. 61415 (ph 309 465-3911).

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1990 - Volume #14, Issue #3