From Feral to fully farmed: 250 years of Cattle on the Falkland Islands, 1763-2013
R. Trevor Wilson

A very few cattle were landed on the Falkland by the French in 1763, later augmented by about 60 head by the Spanish. Unoccupied from 1770 to 1820, reports then indicated 20,000 to 100,000 head roaming East Falkland. From the 1830s cattle were hunted for hides, an activity formalized through (British) Government land grants and slaughter licences. During the 1840s Government tried to attract settlers and sheep began to super cede cattle. There were occasional uncoordinated attempts to improve the genetics through introduction of “superior” breeds. An experimental farm established in the 1920s was short-lived as cattle numbers declined and sheep numbers increased. Further sporadic cattle imports were made during the mid twentieth century. Artificial insemination was introduced in the 1970s with imported British beef and dairy breed semen. A National Beef Herd was established in 1997 to breed superior cattle – mainly via artificial insemination and embryo transfer – able to produce organic or “near-organic” beef finished at 24-30 months under the harsh environment of the Falklands with a view to obtaining access to the EU market. Local farmers collectively own about 6000 cattle in small herds whose main objective is to supply household milk and beef.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jaes.v5n1a1