The LONGHORN is Britain's oldest beef breed, a breed almost lost had it not been for the efforts of a small band of dedicated breeders determined to save it from extinction at a time when mainstream farming was intent on producing more for less in the quickest possible time. The nation has to be fed and there will always be that requirement to do so. Inevitably much has been lost in the process. Beef has become, in the majority of cases, tough and tasteless often relying on sauces to have any flavour at all! So,

WHY CHOOSE LONGHORNS?Two of our foundation cows, Croc Mhor Matilda and Ash Mistletoe with thier calves at foot grazing at Tetford in 2005.

The Longhorn is beyond equal as a suckler cow. Its combination of qualities in terms of milk, calving ease, longevity, docility, length and leanness of body is unrivalled by any other breed. It has stood the test of time but does not rest on its laurels. Responding to market trends the breed continues to adapt and improve, so much so that the Longhorn is now superbly placed to meet the challenges of Quality Beef Production in the 21st Century.

Milking Qualities

9 year old Tetford Fritillary at the Lincolnshire Show in 2007. Now retired from showing, she was a prolific and consistent winner in her showing days! The Longhorn is noted for its “feed responsive milk supply”. The cows do not pull themselves down so much in winter that they will not take the bull; but when grass comes in the spring they can really pump out the milk. It is well known that it is the butterfat element of the milk which gives “bloom” to suckled calves. The Longhorn was renowned for the high butterfat of its milk which, in days gone by, was used in the making of famous cheeses like Stilton and Red Leicester. The lactation is long and level which helps to avoid a flush of milk at calving when the newborn calf cannot cope.

Calving Ease

This is where the Longhorn really comes into its own. The combination of prominent hook bones with wide deep pin bones, whilst still retaining a level top line, produces a roomy birth canal at the right angle to minimise calving problems. This means that a Longhorn or Longhorn Cross Cow when put to a continental bull experiences little or no calving difficulties and thus forms a highly efficient, productive and profitable unit. She is an adaptable long-lived cow that can produce and rear big, growthy calves to any breed of bull.


Longhorn cows live to an unusually old age – and keep on breeding. Their hardiness and thriftiness together with their level lactation and ease of calving ensure that they do not place themselves under undue stress. The longer the cow will breed the fewer replacements are needed each year which is a significant economic consideration.


A Longhorn cow in her prime is an attractive and imposing sight. Whilst their horns may, to some, give an opposite impression Longhorns are noted for their exceptional docility, an extremely important consideration when establishing a herd. This quality, combined with their attractive appearance will engender greater stockmanship in cattleman and farmer alike.

Length & Leanness

A Tetford Longhorn Carcase. 720kg lw / 409.1kg dw  MLC Grade -U3 Depth over the pins allows greater length from hooks to pins without incurring calving difficulties. Indeed the great overall length generally associated with the Longhorn is correlated with a rapid growth rate and lean carcase. It is a well established fact that intramuscular fat or “marbling” within meat is largely responsible for succulence, tenderness and flavour – the hallmark of beef with superior eating quality. Unlike many rival breeds, which require the laying down of excessive amounts of external fat before the formation of intramuscular fat can take place, a properly finished Longhorn carcase will benefit from “marbling” without such excess external fat cover. Today’s Longhorns are clean, modern cattle, well capable of producing lean beef with superior eating qualities to suit today’s discerning market. Such beef can command a premium price, which when coupled with the economical costs associated with its production, place the Longhorn in pole position for Quality Beef Production in the 21st Century!

Britain's Best Steak came from a Longhorn born and raised at Tetford - what made it so special?

Just as different varieties of apples have different flavours and characters so do different breeds of cattle. The LONGHORN has its own distinctive flavour, the true roast beef of Old England. Diet also has a strong influence on flavour, it is said that 'we are what we eat' and the same can be said of the beef that we produce here at Tetford. Our cattle are all single suckled on their mothers and reared out at grass in the traditional way. They receive supplementary finishing in the form of ad-lib hay, rolled oats, rolled barley and sugar beet shreds. No growth promoters or routine antibiotics are used at any time. Whilst it is true to say that no two animals are exactly alike we strive to produce a consistent product. We do this so you can be sure that the next time you shop with us the beef will be just like the beef you bought and enjoyed the last time! That is something that is not so easy to do elsewhere! 

Producing quality beef takes time, great care and traditional skills at every stage from the animal's birth right through to the consumer’s plate. Just as the makers of fine wines will claim that a little something unique and special is why theirs stands above and apart from their competitors we believe we not only have the winning breed but also that little special something which elevates us a trifle higher than the rest.

You can buy our Longhorn Beef from our own butcher's shop, Meridian Meats in Louth, together with our Lamb as well as Free Range and Rare Breed Pork and our Award Winning Sausages.