We can talk about the detail of farming native breeds, and all the care and expertise that goes into our livestock, but without the grass we grow and its subsidiary products and crops, we’d be unable to farm anything at all. We’re often asked why we have chosen not to farm organically, and the answer is that we farm sustainably, rotating each field in order to produce enough food and grazing for our 5,000 animals. Through careful management and crop rotation, we provide our livestock with a natural diet while leaving the ground as nutritious and fertile as we found it.
We have great evidence for our methods working, displayed in the rigour of our livestock, the gloriously unkempt hedgerows and the proliferation of wildflowers, plants and wildlife. Our farms are in a high level stewardship scheme, and as landowners and managers it’s our responsibility to maintain as much natural vitality as possible, which is our case even stretches to rebuilding – by hand – large stretches of drystone walls.
We’re increasingly approached to give advice on our farming model, as more and more farmers see sense in this mix of arable and livestock. Why buy food for your animals and fertiliser for your crops, when the two work in such harmony?