The Munching Grassland Managers

Regular visitors to Denmark Farm will be familiar with the sight of a small herd of Highland cattle who are on loan to us by local grazier Gwyn.

Our mobile management team of Highland cattle munch our grasslands in just the right way to encourage a myriad of wildlife – tackling tougher plants so that others can thrive, and leaving uneven tussocks of grass where wildlife can overwinter. They thrive on our unfertilised, organic pastures and help to maintain Denmark Farm’s wonderful habitat mosaic.

highland cattle

Photo taken by Natasha Wynne-Hughes

We don’t want to shy away from the fact that these wonderful beasts are beef cattle and will ultimately be slaughtered for their meat. Eating meat can be a bit of a controversial issue nowadays, and no meat more so than beef. However, some people may not be aware that grass fed meat undertaken for conservation grazing and management is not the same as intensively reared meat fed concentrates, often from soya etc. A lot of organisations are now saying ‘eat less but better meat’, for those who are not vegetarian or vegan.

Here at Denmark Farm, and many other nature reserves, a lot of important habitat would be lost without some sensitive conservation grazing.

Pont Cymru, the Grazing Organisation for Wales state that:
 

Conservation Grazing is livestock grazing, which delivers multiple benefits for wildlife and people now and into the future. These benefits include:

  • Maintenance of our species-rich wildlife habitats by controlling aggressive and invasive species, sustaining open and wooded habitats and creating gaps for new species to germinate.
  • Improving farm incomes through better grazing management of marginal land and the marketing of wildlife friendly and local produce.
  • Helping make communities safer and healthier through reducing fire risk and improving access to green space.
  • Improving resilience by encouraging sustainable management of soils, supporting flood risk initiatives and promoting healthy population of pollinators.

A bit more about Gwyn…

Gwyn returned to Ceredigion in 2014 to a smallholding near Llanfair Clydogau.  With all the land there being semi-natural, and much of it quite wet, and with no agricultural buildings to speak of, the obvious choice were Highland cattle.  Though he started with a breeding herd, he decided that bullocks were less demanding on the land over winter and now buys in calves from trusted suppliers on a hill farm near Penrhyncoch (the current graziers at Denmark Farm) and a smallholding near Cross Hands (where the mothers are his former cows).  While Gwyn is not organic registered, his use of agrochemicals and medicines follows the same rules.  He uses no concentrate feeds nor bought-in grass, but does feed a small amount of sugar beet pulp (a by-product of sugar production) to keep the cattle biddable.
 
The animals are slaughtered in the small abattoir in Tregaron, arriving that morning and being processed immediately and without any undue stress.  The meat is hung for a month to mature.
 
Fresh beef from the herd at Denmark Farm is now available for order for delivery in November 2019.  Frozen meat from his herd at Llanfair Clydogau can also be ordered for delivery right now.  The minimum order is 10kg and costs £11/kg, from which a donation of £1/kg will go to the Shared Earth Trust.  Delivery is free and in person locally.
 
Each consignment is slightly different, but contains a mix of cuts, from the most expensive to the cheapest. 
 
Here’s an example of a typical 10kg order: enghraifft – cig
 
If you are interested in pre-ordering a box of this premium meat please get in touch with Gwyn directly by phone 07884116048 or email dgl_jones@yahoo.co.uk 
 
For those of you who have not yet met our current herd of friendly highland cattle or seen our wonderful wildlife rich meadows in their prime, there is no better time to come and visit Denmark Farm.

About Mara

Facilities & Events Manager at Denmark Farm, often making the coffee and showing people where to park!

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