We have a dairy herd, lots of calves and beef cattle, 300 Romney ewes, 200 British Saddleback sows and a small flock of laying hens.
“Of all the benefits I love about organic farming – the wildlife, the landscape, the delicious food – what motivates me more than anything is allowing our animals to have as good a life as possible.”
We are currently milking around 200 British Friesian cows, between them producing around 1 million litres a year. We have an autumn calving herd of around 140, based on the lower land just below the village. The milking parlour is next to the farm offices, very close to the pub, so it’s easy to pop down to see them.
Our 200 Saddleback sows have a special place in my heart. So much of my life has been spent learning, then championing a better life for these intelligent creatures. If we want to eat meat, then we should ensure that animals not only avoid suffering, but have some fun too.
Calves and beef
Most of our calves are born between September and Christmas, or between March and late April, and they are a mix of Friesians and beef breeds, mostly Angus. The female friesians (heifers) will be milking cows one day, and the males will be beef. All our calves are reared on older dairy cows. Calves stay with their foster cows until they are 6 months old.
My daughter Sophie, and her partner Dai have a flock of Romney ewes which lamb in late March and April. They are an easy care breed, and they lamb outside with few difficulties, and no supplementary feed. This year they are lambing up on the downs, where we used to lamb when I was a child, so it really feels like turning the clock back.
Organic Farm & Food
We’re now combining everything—the pigs, the cows and calves, the landscapes, the wildlife—deer, owls, badgers, flora and fauna generally, although not all of it appears on cue. Our colleague James Andrews, expert at wildlife photography among other skills, will lead the ‘Safari’ tours, in the red land rover
Tackling the virus crisis ...
We have set up a farm shop at the Royal Oak in Bishopstone for groceries, organic meat and freshly prepared meals to take-away during the current restrictions on in-house dining. Please see our social media for updates and a full list of available produce.
Delighted that our organic Corned Beef is being applauded across the land. 5* reviews with Abel and Cole and a Silver award at British Charcuterie Live!
Clive gives us a twitchers update on all the comings and going on the farm.
"The rookeries in the ash trees around the farm have been active since late February/early March and the early-nesting rooks will now be sitting on eggs. For most of the other birds the lengthening days and increased hours of sunlight are the trigger to pair up and start breeding ...