Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Cattle? Would my system work?  (Read 2022 times)


  • Joined Feb 2011
Cattle? Would my system work?
« on: June 20, 2012, 02:55:29 am »
Hi all- just 'chewing the cud' on whether to get cattle. I have 7 acres of reasonable pasture (most is dry-ish). At the moment I have 12 sheep who aren't really denting it and am letting about 5 acres grow (taking as hay hopefully or maybe leave as winter foggage). Last winter I managed to keep the sheep without supplementary feeding by a country mile (no hay- a few nuts and yellow rockie licks). My question is could I also support a beef cow and calf- again with no/very minimal supplementary feeding or a couple of 'growers' (could I allow them to just eat the 'foggage' with licks? and follow their grazing with the sheep or even keep in same field? I have a ram so I suspect that is a 'no'?) . My thinking is that this would mean that I wouldn't have the need to cut for hay and would only need to occasionally top for weed control. I do have barn accommodation if it got snowy or too wet and could offer hay then.  I was thinking of a rare, hardy, thrifty, docile breed- ideally polled with either value as beef or breeding stock (I would have to use AI). Does anyone have any advice, thoughts or reccomendations on this?
Thanks :cow:

robert waddell

  • Guest
Re: Cattle? Would my system work?
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2012, 08:16:19 am »
it first depends on your location   the far north of Scotland differs greatly than the very south of England and east to west
nothing wrong with them all running together
there is less nutrients in grass in winter/when it gets to seed and just before
you could have a paddock system of grazing that way if it gets ahead of them you can cut/top and still have the verges
make and model of cow  any that will give you beef your choice :farmer:


  • Joined May 2012
  • Llangurig , Mid Wales
Re: Cattle? Would my system work?
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2012, 12:53:58 pm »
I am agreeing that cattle and sheep are okay to mix, but you might want to rotate your pasture so that you get the benefit of one speicies cleaning up after the other. Simpler to run together except if you have cattle licks out in the field these are toxic to sheep. Cattle can live out all winter, our Herefords do with silage brought to them. On a small scale I would advise housing in the winter to save your ground from damage.

Have you thought about just rearing a few ordinary market calves to start with as a trial? When you choose your breed I would recommend Herefords or Aberdeen Angus. They are docile, hardy  and good mothers. Steer clear (no pun intended) of limousin x cattle.  I am sure other smallholders will have breeds to suggest.

AI should not be a problem if your cows are well handled. it will also be easier for you to spot when they are in bulling if you know them well.  All that would be required is some form of restraint in the barn,  a halter would be adequate.Obviously some practice before hand would be good.

Also consider your fencing.  Barbed wire on top of existing fences might be needed.


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