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Our beef cattle

Our pedigree herd of South Devon cattle can be found grazing our permanent pasture and legume-rich leys all year round.

 

The South Devon is the largest of the native British cattle breeds and is well known for its maternal and beef qualities. They do particularly well on grass - being very efficient forage converters - which results in succulent, tender and flavoursome meat. 

Some of our breeding cows have been on the farm for over ten years, lovingly rearing calf after calf. After calves are weaned at around 10 months old, they join their older brothers and sisters and spend two years rotating around the farm, getting access to fresh, delicious pasture every morning.

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Our dairy cattle

The milk and other dairy produce we sell comes courtesy of our tiny herd of Ayrshire and Friesian cattle. We currently have 19 cows & two heifers (young cows who haven't yet calved) in the herd, of which 15 are being milked.

The only native British dairy breed, Ayrshires are well-known for their rich, creamy milk and their longevity - most cows are productive for at least 10 years, with many producing rich milk into their late teens.

 

Unfortunately, Ayrshires are fairly hard to come by and so for some years now we have been expanding the herd with the more recognisable, black-and-white Friesian cows. However, we are now excited to be moving back towards a fully Ayrshire herd, having found a much larger organic Ayrshire dairy willing to sell us the cows we need!

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Our sheep

We farm around 400 North of England mules, year-round on grass, as well as some Texel crosses. 

After spending the entire winter outside grazing our hay meadows and arable cover crops, we bring them in for lambing in April, before turning them back out to pasture for the rest of the year. 

Most of our lamb is currently sold to the supermarkets, however we now sell some of our lamb direct to our local dairy customers and via our new online shop. 

We hope that in the not-too-distant future we will be able to supply hogget and mutton too, and hopefully wool too! 

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Our wildlife

The farm is home to an array of wild animals and beautiful birds through all the months of the year. 

From the deer and foxes that live in our hedgerows and woodlands, to the owls in our barns, to the curlew and lapwings that come to our SSSI water meadows each year to breed, our chemical-free farmland is clearly the ideal habitat for creatures great and small.

Any walker along the many public footpaths which criss-cross the farm will know that the grass fields and our wild and woolly hedgerows are alive with flora and fauna.

Other species that can be spotted here include red kites, rare water snails, snipe, sedge warblers, reed buntings, butterflies and many more. As far as we are concerned, the more the better.

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Our underground livestock

Without a doubt, the most important group of animals on the farm are the ones you cannot see (at least without a spade and microscope). 

While we may have several hundred sheep and cows roaming the farm, they wouldn't last long at all without the help of the billions of organisms beneath their feet: the insects, earthworms, nematodes, protozoa, fungi, bacteria and archaea that work in symbiosis with living plants to convert sunlight into nutritious food!

 

Fun fact: just one teaspoon of topsoil contains more organisms than there are people on earth!

 

Our primary job as farmers is to nurture our soil so that these folks can continue to thrive and multiply. 

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