The Society’s Summer visit on Saturday was to English Farm Longhorns, Nuffield, Oxon. Owner Robert Laycock and herd manager Silas Hedley-Lawrence showed nearly 40 Society members and friends around the cattle and then provided a wonderful barbeque lunch.
The herd was established in 2016 with foundation stock coming from Cheshire Wildlife Trust and Plum Park Longhorns. As demand has grown new breeding stock was bought in from Great Berwick Longhorns and the original stockbull Carreg Pollinator from Bernard Llewellyn was joined in 2019 by Pointer Endless Opportunity from David Howden. As the herd is a Soil Association member organic stock has to be sourced when buying in new cattle. In addition they are members of the Pasture for Life Scheme.
The farm is around 240 acres, mostly acidic loamy free draining soil that allows the cattle to stay out all year round. The grass is managed by mob grazing; building soil fertility and grazed forage quality by moving the cattle to a new pasture every few days. As the cattle are out all year round there is a low stocking density. They are fed supplementary hay in the winter which is put out on the ground rather than in feeders to reduce poaching and incorporate hay seeds into the sward.
The herd features heavily on social media and use Instagram to promote the herd and the beef. They work hard to connect face-to-face with their customers, hold tasting events on the farm throughout the year to promote the Longhorn beef and raise awareness of the superb taste and versatility of all the cuts. They also attend a number of farmers markets in the local area and supply beef boxes nationally to their customers. The farm has an onsite butchery where all their carcases are processed (around 2 per month in 2019)
Members saw cows with calves at foot, bulling heifers and finishing stock and then had a tour of the butchery. The day was made complete when everyone enjoyed a barbeque lunch in the old tythe barn, ably cooked by Robert and featuring a number of different cuts of Longhorn beef.