Traditional British breeds were multi-purpose, used for labour and producing good milk and meat. That was until the import of Dutch Friesians – which produce a high yield of milk – led to the specialisation of meat and dairy herds.
A dairy cow is designed to produce milk rather than meat. A pure-bred male calf from a dairy cow will never produce the same quality of carcass as a beef breed, and so farmers often put a beef bull over the dairy cow to produce a dairy cross, which can be intensively fattened and sold into the beef market. This type of cross represents a large part of the commercial market, yet offers little in terms of eating quality. These animals are often fed a protein-supplemented diet in order to gain weight and reach maturity quickly, and the result is about as far as you can get from our 24+ month, grass fed beef.