The Glan cattle are a traditional breed found in Germany and more specifically the Rhineland-Palatinate region of the country.
There is not much known about the origins of the original form of the Glan cattle breed, though the modern form breed originated in the late 18th century from Brown Swiss cattle. Calls were made in Germany at the time to improve the local small red breed of cattle, by using Simmental cattle and other breeds. This marked the beginning of the modern Glan cattle breed and it was officially established by Duke Christian IV in 1773. Swiss cattle breeds were already popular imports in the area at the time, which is why they were chosen to cross with.
In the 1920’s, locals began crossing Glan cattle with Gelbvieh cattle in order to improve the draught performance of the breed. This is when they began being used for beef, milk and draught purposes, though in the 1950’s the breed was again crossed with another breed, this time Danish Red Cattle. This resulted in Glan cattle losing either their sought-after beef or dairy traits and was a venture quickly abandoned.
The Pure breed of Glan cattle was eventually abandoned in 1967, while the Association of Rhenish Glan cattle was ended five years later in 1972. This was not to mark the end of the breed, however, as a new association aimed at promoting and conserving the breed was formed in late 1984. Many more associations with the same purpose have been formed ever since.
Although formerly a multi-purpose animal, used for dairy, beef and draught purposes, Glan cattle are mainly kept for beef production nowadays.
They are medium to large in size, with bulls weighing up to 1,200kgs at full maturity and cows ranging from 600 to 750kgs. Height-wise, bulls tend to vary from 140-145cms tall, with cows ranging from 135 to 140cms.
This large size is why Glan cattle were used for draught purposes and although they are a slow maturing breed, they are also used in fattening systems as they reach high weights at maturity. Glan cattle usually kill out with 60% of meat on the carcass.
Glan cows were once famed for their milk production and are capable of producing an average of 4,446kgs of milk per lactation. Milk is usually of an excellent quality, with a Butterfat content of 4.07% and protein at 3.53%.
A horned breed, horns on Glan cattle are usually small in size and feature on both cows and bulls. Glan cattle also have a distinctive yellow colouration of their coat and are very strong animals.
Very hardy, very active and used for dairy, meat and draught purposes, what more could you want than the mighty Glan?