News and Events


April 2017


The 2017 AGM was held on Saturday 8 April in The Cornerstone Restaurant, Scalloway, Shetland. It was attended by 23 people, including two who joined from the mainland. The meeting was followed by an enjoyable meal and evening of socialising and catching-up.

North House Annie DOB 3 April, 1998

North House Annie, a mainly black cow still owned and milked by her breeders, Pearl and Willie Young of Wester Skeld, Shetland, had her 19th birthday on 3 April. She is in good health and is preparing to calve again. Her progeny include seven registered females and one registered bull. She is yet another testament to the soundness and longevity of the breed.

Shetland Genetics to Canada

Plans are being made to send a shipment of Shetland semen, from several bulls, to a farm in British Columbia, Canada, which specialises in old and rare Jersey genetics. The owners breed for high CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) in both milk and meat. CLA is an omega-6 fatty acid important to human health. It is shown to have anti-carcinogenic properties and may reduce cardiovascular disease. Shetland meat and milk has been shown, in small scale studies, to contain higher levels of CLA than other breeds. The breeders in Canada are impressed with the conformation of the Shetland as well as the attributes of the milk. More information to follow.

Shetlands Headed for the U.S.A.

After a series of challenges and difficulties delaying its departure by many months, the shipment of semen and embryos to the U.S. has finally cleared the last hurdle, with clear results for brucella tests for the bulls, a particular requirement for importing semen into the U.S. The shipment is expected to be at its destination later in the month. Watch for further news.

Semen Store Orders for 2017

Those wishing to use AI this year please make contact with the Semen Store and make your order well in time. Remember that it is likely to take a week or two for your straws to reach your AI technician so ensure that you have allowed enough time. Please email for any enquiries and to make your order. Available bulls can be viewed in the Semen Store on the Home Page.

21 Years Old                        

Shetland cow, Collafirth Rowan, turned 21 on 23 March. She is hale and hearty and wintering out, but despite bulling regularly, has given up calving, having given birth for the last time in August 2014, to Carn Bhren Irsa, pictured below. However, at the age of 17 she was successfully flushed for embryos and a bull calf of hers, Zetralia Apollo Bay, was born in Australia in 2015. He can be seen in the photo Gallery. Rowan has had 16 calves in all. Of these, two were heifers and 14 were bulls. She calved 14 calves without missing a year from the age of 2 y.o. When she last calved her udder was sound on all four quarters and she has never had teat trouble. She has also never needed to have her feet trimmed. She is a fine example of the breed - hardy, milky, friendly, sound and intelligent.

    Carn Bhren Irsa, Rowan's last calf     

Shetland Genetics to Zimbabwe

The possibility of importing Shetland genetics into a third continent, that of Africa,  is currently being investigated, the genetics having already reached the continents of Australia and imminently, North America. It is hoped that a consignment of semen will be shipped to a beef farmer in Zimbabwe who is looking to bring specific Shetland attributes to his herd of Brahman cattle. He is hoping that the Shetland genetics will improve the milkiness, temperament and hardiness of his herd, and will also moderate the size. Watch for updates to this exciting venture. 

Canaan Gwete's mixed herd west of Mutare in Zimbabwe      Canaan Gwete's Brahman bull grazing, Mutare, Zimbabwe

FAnGR Committee Newsletter Spring 2017

The FAnGR (Farm Animal Genetic Resources Committee) newsletter for Spring 2017 has now been circulated. FAnGR advises DEFRA and the Devolved administrations on issues related to the conservation and sustainable use of farm animal genetic resources.

The FAnGR has been working with DEFRA to update the UK National Breed Inventory of all farm animals resident in the UK (other than poultry). The updated inventory for 2016 is now online at This shows how breed populations are changing over time and can help identify status, trends and potential threats.

The estimated population of registered breeding female Shetlands in 2016 was 551, an increase of 32 from 2015.

If you wish to join the circulation list for the FAnGR newsletter please email The newsletter includes important information about native breeds, breeding and genetics, and regulations.

Another Bull for Australia

Three-year-old Shetland bull Renwick Renoir has passed his First Series tests for semen collection for export and is undergoing his Second Series tests in Scawfell Genetics' stud in Cumbria. He has already provided semen for domestic use but is now undergoing semen collection for the new Australian herd. He contributes frame, length, colour (grey) and exceptional temperament. 

Renwick Renoir    

Shetland Herd in Australia

Four Shetland heifers in AustraliaSeven Shetland calves were born in Australia in early 2015 from embryos created in Scotland in 2013 and implanted in Ayrshire heifer surrogates in 2014. There are four heifers and three bulls. These are the only Shetland cattle outside the UK. The herd was established by Paddy Zakaria, a member of the SCHBS Management Committee, to ensure the security of the breed by the creation of an off-shore gene pool. Shetland cattle have been taken out of the UK before, notably a breeding group taken to the Falkland Islands after the war. However, there was no systematic plan to create a viable herd and no members of this group have survived. Semen has been collected and shipped to Australia to ensure the diversity of the new herd and the genetics now in Australia represent 93% of the total gene pool of the breed. Further semen collection is underway. The first generation of calves born from Shetland heifers is due later in 2017.


29 April, 2017 York Auction Centre 14th Spring Rare Breeds Sale, York Auction Centre, Murton, York YO19 5GF.

6 May, 2017 Rare and Minority Breeds Sale, Aberdeen and Northern Marts, Thainstone Agricultural Centre, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire AB51 5XZ.

9 August, 2017 Cunningsburgh Show, Cunningsburgh, Shetland