Brentingby Meadows

Quality English meat from Leicestershire's grazing lands

cow, sheep in backgroundThe Brentingby herd of Pedigree Holstein cattle is our main enterprise, with each our 60 cows producing an average of 8,500 litres of milk (1,900 gallons, or over 15000 pints!) per year, currently sold to Long Clawson Dairy, where it is made into Stilton Cheese.

We run a ‘closed herd’ – we don't buy any cows in, we rear all our female dairy calves so that they enter the herd when they have their own first calf at around 2 years of age. Calving starts in August and most of the cows have calved by Christmas and produce milk for about 10 months. During the summer the cows graze the fields and in the winter when the fields are cold and muddy are housed in straw-bedded cubicles, are fed on the rich spring grass which has been harvested and preserved as silage.

Female dairy calves are necessary to continue our herd, but we use an Aberdeen Angus bull as well, to give us some better quality beef calves. Some of these are kept on the farm for rearing for our direct sales enterprise, the rest are sold to other farmers for rearing.

Our dairy, beef and sheep enterprises are farm assured, which means we are independently inspected to ensure that our animals are well cared for and the milk is produced under hygienic conditions. Farm assured produce carries the little red tractor mark.

We run a flying flock of around 300 cross-breed sheep, bought as ewes with lambs in March and April. The sheep are very hardy and spend all year outdoors. By midsummer, we have our first prime lamb ready for sale, either through our meat sales enterprise or through the local livestock market at Melton Mowbray.

Although most of the farm is grassland, we grow a small area of wheat from which we feed the grain and use the straw as bedding for the livestock. As part of our farming activities, we look after the wildlife and heritage on the farm and are happy to show groups around on one of our farm walks.