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|McGowan Pineywoods Cattle Farm||
Weekly notes about life on the farm. Please check back often to hear what is happening with the Pineywoods Cattle and other animals on the Farm.
Livestock For Sale
Sales are complete for 2014. Thanks to those Pineywoods advocates that pursued early sales. Next calves are due spring of 2015.
Farm Videos and Photos
Several colorful images and short videos that show the vibrant life on the farm.
Welcome to the Rakestraw Cattle Company website, we hope you enjoy learning about our Pineywoods herd and the hardiness of this heritage breed. The Rakestraw Pineywoods Cattle herd reflects the richness and resources of the Southwest Mississippi’s pine belt region.
The Farm Mission: Establish a homestead using Mississippi’s rich natural heritage through the raising and sustainment of grass, longleaf pine, heritage Pineywoods cattle, and range fed chickens and turkeys. Our aim is to utilize the natural resources and raise the most natural products without the introduction of chemicals and pesticides. We practice agroforestry to maximize the natural resources.
The land and environment provide abundant sustenance that, if managed with balance and care, can and will provide the necessary resources to add to a fulfilling life style. Please join us as we learn about and care for the land.
Pineywoods Herd Family Lines: The Rakestraw herd contains two main lines-Conway and Hickman breeds. The new herd sire is a pure Hickman Bull.
Breeding Preference: The goal of the McGowan herd is to combine the horn style and large frame of the Hickman line and the rich red speckle of the Conway line.
Spanish Cattle Heritage: Mississippi’s Pineywoods Cattle trace their origins from Spanish Cattle that some people now know as Corriente. The Corriente breed can be traced to the cattle the Spanish used in the settlement of the Americas. There is a long line of European history managing cattle that includes Celts and other ancient civilizations. Most likely, it is the Spanish Corriente that provides the most relevant heritage for the Mississippi Rakestraw and Pineywoods Cattle.
The Spanish cattle origins go back to 10th century Castile, Spain. As the Spanish drove the Moors south, out of the Iberian Peninsula, they brought cattle to the vast plains of Andalusia. Some cattle herds were as large 1,000 to 1,500 head. A pattern of herd management and ranching began to develop in the 13th century that would be carried to the New World centuries later. Men on horseback, the use of the rope, the roundup and branding all began there to define the Spanish techniques transferred to Americas.
The Andalusian cattle appear to have been native European cattle. There is no evidence of influence from the Moorish cattle from Africa. The best estimate is that the cattle shipped to the New World resembled types of old Spanish cattle found in Andalusia today: the Retinto (a red or tan colored animal, sometimes almost brown), the Black Andalusian (a solid black), the Berrenda (a white with black points) and possibly a few Cacereno (a pure white). These mixes and colors can be clearly seen in the Pineywoods Cattle of today in Mississippi.