Traditional beef farming and our Hereford suckler herd

Traditionally farmed Hereford Mother and Calf grazing on green pasture

Traditional beef farming with our Hereford suckler herd is what we do, alongside making pies of course!

It’s a family affair, as it is with many farmers in the UK. The Jalland family has been farming in the Vale of Belvoir for over 500 years!

We rear our own beef on the farm at Swan Lodge which is commonly called a suckler herd because the calves are left to suckle from their mothers for up to 9 months.

Qualities of the Herd

The breed we choose is the Hereford. It is one of the oldest beef breeds in Britain and well known, most importantly, for its superior beef quality. Indeed the Hereford Cattle Society describes the breed as being ‘a cut above the rest’. Herefords are keen grazers and their appetite for green pastures makes their beef taste even better. There are environmental and health benefits too. Their particular love of the ‘green stuff’ creates a presence of higher levels of omega-3 in the meat.

There were 87 different beef breeds on British Farms last year of which 6% were Hereford. They are known for having ‘super mum’ qualities in their fertility, calving ability and producing plenty of milk for their young.

What is traditional beef farming?

Traditional beef farming methods, as opposed to intensive beef farming, means our animals spend two thirds of the year outside grazing on good pasture. During the colder months we house them in barns filled with deep straw. Whilst undercover during this time, the cows eat silage. This is grass we have grown, and harvested at Swan Lodge Farm and then fermented over time. Our passion for sustainability naturally reflects in creating a sustainable Hereford suckler herd. We use the manure created by the herd, after it has matured for up to a year, to fertilise the land on to which we grow future crops of silage. In time, we feed this crop to the herd thus creating a sustainable herd.

The result of managing our herd in this way makes them carbon neutral. Methane gas is the harmful bi-product of beef farming when intensive farming methods are in use and when the cows feed on grain to increase their body weight

The high demand for our pies means that we cannot supply all the beef from the farm. We carefully select other local farmers, who share our traditional farming methods, to supplement our beef supplies. One such farmer is Rupert Harker at Blackberry Farm at Clipston-on-the-Wolds in Nottinghamshire.

We are proud of our heritage and our values of sustainability, traditional farming and provenance all of which contribute to the quality of the meat and ingredients you find in our pies.

Next time you tuck into one of our beef pies, whether it is a Wild Beaver, Moo & Blue, Kiwi or Northerner you will know why they taste so good!