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.