On the grassland, we keep a beef suckler herd; a herd of beef cows who all have a calf a year. Their calves are weaned from them at around 9 months old, then sold at a year old to other farms in the area, to be later finished for beef.
The cattle graze in the fields from April to November, and we make silage and hay from any surplus grass, for them to eat when they move into the cattle sheds during the long, soggy, Winter months. You can find out more about silage and hay in the Farm Dictionary or in this blog post all about forage.
Most of our cows are a large, deep red, maternal breed which is native to the UK, called Lincoln Reds; affectionately named “The Red Elephants” around here. Many are also named with a name which suits their personality or appearance, like “Scruffy”. We also have a bit of a mixture of other breeds though- variety is the spice of life, after all!
Our bull, Basil, is a French breed, called a Bazadaise. He’s quite a striking sight with a silver grey body, turning to black on his shoulders and rump. The Bazadaise is a breed with lots of shape and muscle, which only develops once the calf is born, making them famed for their calves that usually slip out easily, so we can be as hands-off as possible at calving time and leave the cows to do their jobs (whilst always watching them on the cctv, it’s like big brother!).
THE ARABLE LAND
As well as Farmers, my family are Agricultural Contractors, carrying out operations on customers’ crops throughout the year, but we also have some arable land of our own.
Each year, the crops we grow change as we rotate them through the fields, but some you may find here are…
- Wheat & Barley, for animal feed- most of our wheat usually ends up in dog food
- Oilseed rape, for rapeseed oil production
- Oats, for milling for your porridge, or if they don’t make the grade, they’ll be animal feed
- Linseed, for flax oil production
- Fodder beet (similar to swedes), to feed to our cows