April 4, 2024

A Seasonal Shift on the Farm

Join us in a conversation about spring on the farm with Johnny Morris, one of our wonderful beef farmers.

John Morris, Beef farmer from Willersley Court Farm

As the fourth generation of farmers at Willersley Court, Johnny and his family have been farming here for over 100 years! With 500 acres of grassland, central to the farm’s ethos is a commitment to nurture Herefordshire, Aberdeen Angus and other native breed cattle.

At Neil Powell we are proud to play a part in the Willersley Court story, having worked together for over 30 years, bridging the gap between field to fork. Together we prioritise sustainability, the best quality meat and reduced food miles. Cattle only travels a short distance, starting at local market and onto the farm, then moving to Lentwardine abattoir and directly to Neil Powell. 

Join us in a conversation about spring on the farm with Johnny Morris, one of our wonderful beef farmers. 

How do you prepare for Spring?

During the winter months, the cattle are more comfortable indoors, protected from harsh weather and churned up muddy fields. Comfortable and clean bedding is made from homegrown straw, which is a by-product of our crops and is changed twice a week. Hay is also supplemented into the cattle feed, aiding in digestion and gut health. Muck from the sheds then become a valuable fertiliser, spread on the ground before the maize and barley are planted.

“A cattle well bed, is a cattle half fed” John shares, a phrase he picked up from his grandad.

What’s happening on the farm now?

Spring on the farm brings a flurry of activity as the cattle are prepared to graze on the grasslands. The timing of turning out the cattle is subject to the whims of weather, typically occurring in early April, this year’s unpredictable weather patterns have necessitated a more cautious approach, delaying the process to ensure optimal conditions for the cattle. 

What do cattle eat during Spring?

Throughout the winter the cattle’s diet is homegrown forage, primarily silage, supplemented by maize and barley. However in the spring, cattle are turned out into the fields and therefore grass becomes the main part of their diet. Sugar content in grass is at it’s highest during late spring and early summer, which provides ideal nutrition. As the season progresses into summer, the emphasis shifts towards a 100% grass-fed diet, reflecting the farm’s dedication to sustainable farming practices.

How do you care for the cattle, and for how long?

At Willersley our husbandry is top priority, we consistently review our approach to feeding, stewardship and soil health, as well as daily walking and checking. Once the cattle are out, they are often checked multiple times a day! 

We attend local market five times a week to buy Herefordshire and Angus cattle, once the animals arrive with us the lifecycle continues for around 6-8 months. Everything we do has a focus on animal care, which in turn means we can supply Neil Powell with the best quality of meat.

How do you approach sustainability on the farm?

Beyond homegrown forage for nourishing the livestock, our holistic approach extends to the careful management of resources, including the utilisation of homegrown straw as bedding and the recycling of organic matter to enrich the soil. We strive for a symbiotic relationship between farming and conservation at Willersley Court, from the careful rotation of crops to the conscientious management of waste.

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We are so pleased to work alongside farmers like John, who evidently prioritise care and attention to their animals, and who are forward thinking in their approach to modern and quality farming.

As spring is upon us we look forward to the renewal of life on the farm, providing us with exceptional quality beef and lamb. From field to fork, we take pride in offering our customers meat that is not only delicious but also responsibly sourced, with a dedication to quality and integrity. 

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