Since the 1960s, farmers have used frozen semen to save a rare breed of Aberdeen Angus cows. One super-fertile bull was named after Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Geordie Soutar and Julia Soutar have been running a worldwide genealogical project from their rural farm, Forfar, Angus for 26 years. 

Now that the herd is at a sustainable level of production, 100% Native Angus beef can be purchased for the first time since 30 years.

The beef was launched in Edinburgh at an exclusive event in October. The Soutars stated that they plan to make it readily available through Macduff’s butchers in Edinburgh over the coming months. 

The Aberdeen Angus is a well-known beef breed. It was originally developed from slow-maturing cattle from Forfarshire, now known as County of Angus.

As the breed increased in popularity, it was exported around the world with large populations in USA, Canada, Australia, South America and New Zealand.

However, they were bred with larger breeds, so when they were brought back to the UK, the original native breed was under threat.  

Geordie and Julia Soutar (pictured) used frozen 19060s semen to save a species of Aberdeen Angus cows from extinction with one super fertile bull named after Boris Johnson (pictured)

Geordie Soutar and Julia Soutar (pictured), used frozen 19060s semen in order to save an Aberdeen Angus species of Aberdeen Angus cattles from extinction. One super fertile bull was named after Boris Johnson.

1995 was the first year that there were nine Native cow families in the world that had been certified by Aberdeen Angus Society. The couple decided to start their breeding process from Kingston Farm that same year. 

Geordie & Julia sourced the last Native Angus cows in order to save the breed. 

There are now 50 cows that graze on the couple’s farm. One of them is named after the Prime Minster.

Geordie, father of two, said: “We started to look at original cattle. The Native Angus with no imported genes in the mid-1990s.

“There were only 20 cows that were left without imported bloodlines.

“Most were old and in calf to North American bulls. We started to gather them up, and we sourced some old Semen.

Farmers Geordie and Julia Soutar with Monty the dog at Kingston Farm in Angus

Dunlouise Champion Boris

Farmers Geordie and Julia Soutar, pictured (left) with Monty the dog at Kingston Farm and (right) Dunlouise Champion Boris, the one-year-seven-month-year-old Native Aberdeen Angus

Which beef is best: Wagyu beef vs Native Aberdeen Angus beef 

Aberdeen Angus beef was first developed in Scotland in the early 19th Century and quickly became popular in the UK and across Europe.

It has since become one of the most sought-after types of beef in the world. 

Wagyu beef is an original Japanese breed. It can be described as a combination of four different breeds.

The introduction of beef in Australia was made possible by frozen embryos and frozen semen. Australia is the largest exporter of Wagyu beef in the world. 

Both Wagyu and Angus beef have excellent marbling. This characteristic improves the meat’s tenderness and flavour.

But Wagyu beef tends to have a higher percentage of marbling – when the muscle and fat in a cut of meat resemble a piece of marble – which means it is often favoured over Angus beef.  

Both breeds have become so popular that they are now being diluted all over the world.

This means that even though they have a small percentage, many beef products can claim that they are Angus and Wagyu. 

“To this day, we will still be using semen that was collected during the 1960s. It’s stored in liquid nitrogen and frozen.

“I would say that the efficacy of modern stuff is probably not as high, but we can still get calves, and that is how have widened our genetic pool.

“Some of my early stuff I bought, and as the years passed, we got some from Rare Breeds Farm since they had a library full of old semen.

‘The conditions were that it had to be used in a purebred cow, as otherwise it would have been wasted and it wouldn’t have been kept pure.

“It’s the same as IVF. You’re playing with nature to get the result you want.

The semen is packed and sent around the globe, as far as Colombia, Uruguay, and Argentina.

Geordie said, “It’s not 9-5, 40 hour work.”

“There are many time zones in the different places we deal. We have had to educate some of our clients not to call us at 2am to talk cows.

The process began with the immunization of the few remaining Native Aberdeen Angus cows using frozen sperm. This is known as selective breeding and has led to a registered herd, the Dunlouise.

One bull that was born last year was nicknamed “Dunlouise Champion Boris” – named after the Prime Minster who revealed earlier in the year that he is a father to six. 

Now, with cattle numbers at a safe level, the Native Angus beef is going on sale in Edinburgh – the first time in more than 30 years that the breed will be available to purchase from anywhere except the Soutars’ own Kingston Farm and their local butcher. 

Native Aberdeen Angus cattle are fed on grass instead of the grain diets given to other breeds. This results in a higher level of Omega 3 and additional health benefits both for the consumer, and the environment. 

Julia Soutar with semen sample of Native Aberdeen Angus which is shipped round the world

Julia Soutar, with a semen sample of Native Aberdeen Angus that is shipped around the globe

Geordie said that: “There is no doubt that people are more conscious about what they eat and therefore the quality of their food is very important.

“This is the reason farm shops exist. They have the provenance and the story to share and people want these things.

‘Meat is an important part of our diet. You need to ensure that you are eating good beef. These cattle have stood the test.

“I don’t know much about science and I don’t want any arguments with scientists, but grass captures carbon. Also, smaller animals have a smaller footprint.

They are efficient and can be kept on more ground than an acre.

“And we can go wherever you can’t grow grains.

‘Native Anguus are strong animals that can reach ground that is not suitable to grow grain. That is why they are so successful in other parts the world.