Farming & Food
Grass provides the perfect diet for cattle and sheep. It is all they need to produce nutritious, healthy meat for people to cook and eat.
But grass can be tricky to manage. Its one aim in life is to grow, produce a seed head and then die. Only skilled grassland farmers can manage it to produce high quality animal food throughout the year – grazed out in the fields or given as conserved winter-feed, either dried as hay or pickled as silage.
The people I write about in these blogs are some of the best and most innovative farmers and chefs in the world. They look after their soils, their land and their animals and take great care to source and prepare the best meat possible. We should be proud of them all.
Ten years after I visited farmer/inventor Harry Weir and his techno-grazed Friesian bulls and heifers in New Zealand, I found myself listening to James Daniel on a Cornish beef farm, talking about the techno-grazing trials he is running there.
Certified Pasture for Life beef and lamb is at the ‘top of the tree’, as it is delicious, ethical and guilt-free, according to Daniel Nowland, head of technical for the Jamie Oliver Group. Speaking at the Pasture-Fed Livestock Association’s AGM at the Royal Agricultural University…
Scottish farmer Robert Fleming has learnt much from doing a Nuffield Scholarship this year, looking at efficient beef production. But he is also making major changes to his business after seeing the results of grass overseeding trials carried out back home too.
A Touch of Grass is the somewhat weighty, but fascinating account of Alan Kyle’s life. A pioneering farmer born in 1937 in Northern Ireland, he has drawn the words from diaries he wrote from 1952 until retirement in 1999, and includes hundreds of photos of the farms, animals, machines and people through the ages – on this side of the world and in New Zealand too.
Bravo to BBC1s Jules Hudson for taking the time to explore the difference between summer ‘fresh grass-fed’ milk, and winter milk in an episode of CountryFile Summer Diaries this week. He visited an iconic ice cream parlour on the Gower in South Wales, where the ice cream you buy is never more than four hours old and always made with the freshest ingredients, including milk from Janet Davey’s 380 cows.
Feeding and finishing his cattle on just grazed grass and silage makes perfect sense to organic farmer, Hugh Grierson who farms in Tibbermore, near Perth in Scotland. On a recent edition of BBC Landward programme, Hugh invited top chef Nick Nairn to see his cattle and to examine the meat sold from the on-farm butchery.