We have a beautiful suckler herd of pedigree beef shorthorn cows, which are a breed native to Northern England and are therefore perfectly suited to the Lake District landscape. We have chosen shorthorns as they are hardy enough to be outwintered, but have also been bred to produce wonderful meat. They have a gentle nature, which means it is always a pleasure to work with our herd. We are breeding shorthorns that are best suited for our system, focusing on the traditional shorthorn genetics.
We aim to manage our cows as their ancestors might have lived naturally, within the limits of our farm boundary. This means that our cows only eat what they can naturally forage on the farm.
During mid spring to mid autumn, the cows are mob grazed in our meadows, which we refer to as our ‘summer block’. The long rest periods between each paddock allows the grass and wildflowers to grow long and go to seed. This mob grazing mimics roaming herds you see in nature, where they may only visit a certain area for a short period of time and move on. The impact the cows have on each paddock brings everything to life, stirring up insects to feed the birds, opening up the sward to allow for variety in the pasture while their dung feeds the soil, providing natural fertiliser.
We have a block of rough grazing, slightly higher than our meadows, which is left to grow the whole time the herd is in the summer block. This is our ‘winter block’ and is where our cattle graze and forage throughout the winter.