Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Shorthorns, the Long Vue

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Shorthorns, the Long Vue

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jennifer Mackenzie

Easily managed Beef Shorthorns are proving to be the ideal cattle for an organic farm in Cumbria's Eden Valley.

Conversion to organic status began six years ago at Nord Vue, Armathwaite, near Carlisle.

Nord Vue is owned by Charles Lowther who believed the Beef Shorthorn would perfectly fit the system on the 700 acre unit.

He also owns Lowther Park Farms, near Penrith, with his brother Jim and father the Earl of Lonsdale, working closely with Lowther's managing director, John Reid.

While Nord Vue is run as a separate business, the two collaborate in a number of areas, including the organic meat sales business begun two years ago.

The 40-cow Lowther Shorthorn herd was established with bought-in heifers during 2002 and 2003, taking its name from the original herd at Lowther which existed for 140 years, and they run alongside a flock of 1,000 Lleyn cross ewes as well as 500 pigs which are contract reared.

Nord Vue also has a livery yard for 12 horses, Cumbria's only outdoor Olympic size competition arena under construction and a cross-country ride.

Charles said: "I thought that of all the traditional breeds the Beef Shorthorn had the possibility of being a good suckler cow.

"I figured because the Belgian Blue had been bred from the Shorthorn, there must be muscling ability in the breed, which is where I want to improve my herd's dam lines through embryos sourced from a wider gene pool abroad.

"I see this as a five to 10 year breeding programme to make them more competitive within the commercial sector, yet while retaining all the benefits of the breed."

Another factor which decided Charles on the breed was when he did his dissertation at university on the eating qualities of meat ( beef in particular.

He said: "The Shorthorn suits our system here at Nord Vue. They are very docile and easily managed ( we haven't had to calve one this spring.

"We run the whole operation with three employees and our only costs for the cows are around six tonnes of silage, vaccination costs for IBR, leptospirosis and BVD, mineral licks and boluses because of deficiencies in the ground," said Charles, who took over running the farm at 23. …

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