Welcome to the second and final part of our cattle blog.
For this ‘chapter’, we are now in high summer and we’re just about to explain how our cattle are separated as the year progresses.
Age ‘concern’ …
Our cattle are split into different age groups, so cows that have been born in the last 24 months are separated. So if you go past fields of cattle and wonder why sometimes they seem to be in separate pastures, this is why.
The males in this young group are then used for top quality beef while the females are used for breeding. The beef cattle are reared for up to 30 months and girls are kept for longer for their breeding programme.
Once a cow has calved, and we’ve been able to determine sex of the calf, we have an important job to do. The males are immediately castrated and have their ear tags attached, one in each ear.
As with our sheep, this is a legal requirement so that cattle can be traced by their lineage and also where they are reared. Their tags accompany a passport for each animal. While this sounds like fun, they’re definitely not thinking of holiday aboard here, or even a glamping stay! The passport is very important for giving details about each beast, including date of birth, names of parents, place of birth and of course their tag number.
Yet our cattle are not just numbers to us, despite the regulatory ear tags. Each one of our herd has their own special name. Their names are a bit like ours. Some of us will have middle names that have been inherited from previous generations, and our cattle are the same. We use names such as Hamlet or Mirage and all have the prefix of Cornshire so their herd is preserved. This also means their heritage thrives going forward.
Our cattle do us proud but a few years back, we had to make a difficult decision. Our herd originally came from South Devon; however, when we made the life changing decision to go organic, we discovered their North Devon Ruby cousins are more comfortable with the organic system. Their bodies converted the grass to meat much more effectively. So we decided to switch to the breed we have today.
When our boys head towards the abattoir, and their meat is the centrepiece of your Sunday roast, our labels clearly state that our beef is pasture or grass fed. If you choose to eat meat, this type of meat is healthier for you due to the lack of chemicals during rearing, and this type of beef has a lower impact of the environment.
We sell our beef mainly to supermarkets as organic meat and you can purchase beef directly from us as mixed cuts, totalling one eighth of a beast, and making for some tasty family meals.
And as we work alongside our herd, the cattle also work alongside the sheep and in rotation helping reduce worming cycles; they need very little medical, if any, intervention with this perennial problem of farming.
So if you enjoy a beef dinner, then you can’t go wrong with our heritage herd. They are well cared for and have a wonderful life in the Cornish countryside.