Our cattle on Sullington Manor Farm are grass-fed, all year round. All the grass they are fed on whether fresh pasture, silage or hay is grown on the farm.
The cattle in our closed herd are cross breeds between Sussex, Simmental and Aberdeen Angus. Many stay on the farm all their lives.
We have a closed herd (the breeding cows) which were born on the farm and stay here all their lives. New members of the herd are born on the farm and heifers (young female cows) are added so the herd contains many generations of the same family. The bulls are changed appropriately so they are not interbred.
‘The mixed farm turned Britain into a premier division farming nation…And the combination it produced including – grass fed meat – were near perfect for human nutrition.’ Graham Harvey – Grass-Fed Nation.
As well as improving our health, pasture and grazing make our farming more sustainable and our nation’s food supply more secure. Science is beginning to reveal the way pasture enriches the land and stops soil eroding away down-river. The food we eat – alongside the health service – is our best hope of leading long and healthy lives. We simply have to make sure our food comes from the right sort of farm.
Nutritional benefits of grass-fed beef
Luckily for us, cattle and sheep fed mainly on fresh grass produce meat with up to two thirds more omega-3 than animals fed on grain based diets. Unfortunately, when these animals are taken off grass based diets, the levels of omega-3 fall quickly. There is substantial research that indicates that omega-3 reduces risk of cardiovascular events, heart disease, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It is important for humans to obtain equal amounts of omega 3 and omega 6.
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is an omega 6 fatty acid with powerful health promoting properties and is known to be an effective cancer-fighter. It has also been shown to fight against heart disease, diabetes and obesity. The compound is present in large amounts in the meat and milk from animals grazing fresh green pasture.
Environmental benefits of grass-fed beef
Farming is crucial to the environment as healthy, grass-fed animals produce less waste and pollutants leading to reduced methane emissions and grasslands used for grazing act as a vital carbon sink, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Mixed arable and livestock farms, as at Sullington Manor Farm, benefits wildlife and can improve nutrient use efficiency and soil structure. Mixed farms offer increased diversity of plants, insects and mobile species such as birds. Dung beetles take carbon from dung into the ground – dung from the cattle is full of insects and dung beetles.
Hay-making from valuable meadow habitats, allows slower growing grasses to flower and seed. By grazing hay meadows after they have been cut, competitive coarse grasses are controlled and the trampling that occurs creates gaps in the vegetation which allows seedlings to grow. This ensures a variety of species will continue to flourish and create greater biodiversity.
Cattle use their tongues to pull tufts of vegetation into their mouths. This means that they do not graze vegetation which is too close to the ground and often leave tussocks of grass which are used by insects and small mammals. Cattle have wide mouths which means that they do not graze selectively and as a result, they do not select flower heads and herbage which is important for botanically diverse habitats. They are able to create their own access into rough areas and the trampling of these areas can be an important way of controlling scrub.
Without appropriate management, scrub and invasive weedy plants often take over, with consequent losses of wildflowers, reptiles, butterflies and other species characteristic to this area. On Sullington Manor Farm, we have cinnabar moths and caterpillars which feed on ragwort which according to Natural England provides an invaluable resource for an ‘incalculable’ number of predators and parasites.Our Grass-fed Beef