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By Rosewood Farm, Nov 23 2017 01:46PM

If there's one thing that disgusts me more than environmental damage and animal cruelty, it's the processed food industry taking advantage of these things to feed us rubbish and sell it as a solution to our problems, at an inflated price. This week Joanna Blythman delved into the ingredients list of The Impossible Burger to try to work out exactly what it was made of. And that got me thinking, what if we decided to do the Impossible here at Rosewood Farm?


The Impossible Burger proudly claims, on its website, to be better for the environment because it 'uses 95% less land' than beef. So based upon that 'fact', we've crunched the numbers for our business and realised we could produce the same amount of ‘meat’ as we do now, on just 30 acres! Sounds pretty brilliant eh? Of course, we’d sooner give up meat than abandon the wildlife on some of the most diverse pastures in the country here at Rosewood so the cows (or other more appropriate grazing animals if you wish) would have to stay to graze the nature reserve and retain the boost we’ve seen in biodiversity.


There's only one ingredient in Rosewood burgers - grassfed beef!
There's only one ingredient in Rosewood burgers - grassfed beef!

Things started crumbling for the new Impossible Burger plan when we looked at another of their ‘facts’ though - that the Impossible Burger produces 13% of the greenhouse gases (GHGs) of beef. On 5% of the land. 13% of the emissions, on 5% of the land. So actually, more than double the GHGs of beef production per acre. Add the 95% of GHG emissions still being caused by the cows or wild ruminants which encroached to fill the grazing niche created by the lack of cows, and we have an EXTRA 8% of GHGs being produced. We’ll pass, thanks.


This reminds me of two commonly reported benefits of the world turning to plant crops as our only food source - 1) the reduction of greenhouses gas emissions and 2) global food security. Apparently, according to UN figures farming animals produces 14.5% of all human related emissions which we could eliminate if we just ate the food we feed to animals directly to humans instead. It seems simple - less animals = less greenhouse gasses, right? Wrong.



As Mottet et al discovered, 86% of livestock feeds are not suitable for human consumption at all, leaving a modest 14% that could feed people. Livestock are in fact utilising the waste from human-direct crop production and turning it into human edible food for us. The irony of so many emerging meat & dairy alternative products is that they create by-products that are fed to intensively reared livestock. Copra meal from coconut milk, soya hulls from vegetable oils, almond husks, the list goes on, are all sold back to the meat & dairy industry. I wonder how many people buying these products actually realise that they are subsiding the feed costs of the very industry they usually wish to avoid supporting?


The UN/FAO are tired of being misquoted on this issue, too:


As a farmer, it has always puzzled me as to why anyone would think that it is financially attractive for us to feed animals on crops that we could sell direct to humans.


Livestock don’t currently utilise the waste of livestock production in the UK as they do for crop production - we aren’t feeding butchery trimmings back to pigs and chickens, let alone cows and sheep (thank goodness). Instead, the waste from livestock production makes things like fat/tallow, which goes into our cosmetics and toiletries to name but one use. In crops, the oil we’d make soap out of is the product and generates waste itself, (up to 79% in the case of soy). In livestock, the food is the product and the oil is just the ‘waste’. Cows are really cool that way.



Another Impossible fact that just doesn’t add up is water use. In their recent film Stella McCartney claimed that it takes 2350 litres of fresh water to produce a single beef burger. The reason they attribute so much water to a single burger is that this includes all the water that falls, as rain, on the land that animals inhabit. It doesn’t matter if the water is ‘used’ to grow the crops, drunk by wildlife, is stored in the soil or flows straight into a reservoir, it’s still attributed to beef. Because The Impossible Burger uses less land it is deemed to be ‘responsible’ for less water, even though the water continues to fall on the vacant land. To calculate it in this way has severe implications for the water footprint of our beef, as our fields can be covered with six feet of floodwater in winter!


If we take out the water that remains on the land though, maybe drinking & processing water is still too much? Here at Rosewood we’re charged £1.27 per 1,000 litres by Yorkshire Water which, according to the McCartney figure, would mean each burger would cost us £2.98 in water consumption alone, and we’d only be able to produce 30kg of beef. Given that we sell our burgers for £1.20 each that would represent a net loss of £1.78 for every single one, just in water - that really would be an impossible burger!


In reality we produce much more than just beef burgers here at Rosewood, but let’s assume we didn’t, for the sake of simplicity. At current production levels the entirety of our water supply, including all the water we use domestically, amounts to 60 litres per burger or 1/40th of the amount claimed. At less than 8p per burger that sounds like a much more realistic figure.


Floodplain beef production & floodwater storage go hand-in-hand
Floodplain beef production & floodwater storage go hand-in-hand

Yet again the eco- friendly claims of the Impossible Burger all get a bit muddled, because it uses 74% less water than beef on only 5% of the land this means the Impossible burger has a water footprint 5 times that of beef. Price is important to us at Rosewood - a product can be the most sustainable thing mankind has ever seen but unless most of us can afford it, it’s a waste of space. We price match with supermarkets, thanks to our efficient system which grows cows purely on old pasture that can’t be used to grow crops on, and no middlemen. We had struggled to work out why Impossible Burgers cost, in their own words ‘as much as a high end beef burger’, given they are so supposed to be much more efficient to produce, but if they use five times as much water this might go some way to explaining it.


We’re not sure what kind of profit margin this ‘cost of a high end burger’ leaves for the Impossible Burger company, but we’re a bit worried if it’s a good one. Because that 95% of vacated land starts looking highly vulnerable if it is. What would stop unscrupulous corporations swooping in and serving Impossible Burgers at a vast profit to as many human beings as we could breed to eat them? Not much. If we converted more than 20% of this land to Impossible Burger production, given the 5x higher water footprint, we’d run out of water altogether. And if all of the land was used, we’d be producing an extra 8% GHGs for our troubles.


Luckily, we don’t need to convert to Impossible Burger production. While we do graze a large area of land with our cattle, the time they spend on any given patch of ground is relatively small, ranging from 2-14 days per year. So, in terms of land use over time, Rosewood rotational cattle grazing only uses the land for 3.8% of the time at most, even beating The Impossible Burger’s 5%, with just 20% of its water footprint and 8% less GHGs…


By Rosewood Farm, Aug 28 2017 03:00PM


The Corncrake (Crex crex) was once a common species in the UK and it’s hard to deny that modern farming methods are responsible for pushing the species to the north western fringes of our islands. They spend only the summer months in Western Europe, breeding here before returning to winter in sub-Saharan Africa. They are one of three globally-threatened species identified by the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.


Corncrake (Crex crex); on the verge of extinction by the late 1960's
Corncrake (Crex crex); on the verge of extinction by the late 1960's

A secretive bird, the corncrake is more often heard than it is seen, preferring to creep and hide in long vegetation to avoid danger rather than flying away or crossing open ground. This is particularly the case when nesting or with young chicks that are unable to fly. This characteristic behaviour is the major reason why corncrakes have been so vulnerable to modern farming practises. Traditional hay cutting by scythe would start at one side of the field and continue to the opposite side. This, along with the time taken to mow a meadow, allowed the birds to escape through the uncut crop. Unfortunately the introduction of mechanical mowing, first by horses or oxen, and later the tractor, changed the way meadows were cut with continuous initial mowing around the outside creating open ground and cutting off their escape route.


Further changes included the cutting of meadows creeping forward into June or earlier, particularly as the technology developed to make silage, which requires less continuous dry weather, rather than hay. Although, as their name suggest, corncrakes were once associated with cornfields too, feeding on the seeds & insects in weedy crops, the advent of pesticides completely removed this habitat.


In 1992 a reintroduction programme was started by the RSPB on its reserve in Cambridgeshire. Along with conservation efforts in the Western Isles of Scotland, the numbers rose but their range remains limited. Meanwhile, the Yorkshire Ings was the only place in England that managed to hold on to its natural breeding population, despite almost becoming extinct here in the late 1960’s, this has continued to the present day through legal protection of the habitat in the Lower Derwent Valley SPA.


Photo credit: David Hopley
Photo credit: David Hopley

- The photo shows method 1 in the centre with conventional mowing in the two fields to the right of the picture -


Modern day land management presents new threats for the Corncrake which protection alone is unable to address. The loss of cattle farming in Scotland seriously threatens the corncrake recovery and we are now in danger of finally experiencing the same effect here in Yorkshire. Although the birds prefer cover, they favour lighter vegetation that is removed at least annually by either cutting or grazing. Cattle grazing near hay meadows provides areas of longer vegetation for the birds to inhabit between the hay cut and migration. The recent decline of cattle grazing in the valley puts further pressure on the birds.


The good news is that while chick mortality is high, this provides plenty of potential for recovery of numbers by improving survival rates & encouraging fledging of second broods. Our cattle grazing in & surrounding the ings provides some safeguard against habitat loss but as we also manage traditional hay meadows we didn’t want to contribute to their declines. An internet search revealed very little practical advice or experience of ‘corncrake friendly mowing’ (CFM) techniques from anyone who had actually carried it out. All of the available guides contained simplistic diagrams of mowing patterns that didn’t really represent real-world scenarios. It was clear that if farmers like ourselves are to be encouraged to adopt corncrake friendly management then providing practical advice on how to go about it is an absolute necessity, so we decided to document our experiences.


Now, a word of warning to the casual reader who isn’t interested in carrying out CFM themselves- you may want to skip to the end as this is the boring technical bit;


The conventional methods begins by mowing a headland around the perimeter
The conventional methods begins by mowing a headland around the perimeter

We began mowing in mid-july using a four-wheel drive 72hp tractor and offset 1.64m drum mower. The traditional straight lines are easier to set & maintain by using the field edges as a guide when operating machinery. Starting in the middle and working outwards is a tractor driver’s nightmare but this was the first of three techniques we tried in an almost-square field of 12.77 ac (5.17 ha). We marked out a centre point by pacing across the field in a north-south and east-west direction, returning half the way back, then following the opposite trajectory to find where the two points met.




Cutting began by forming a spiral around an initial small square
Cutting began by forming a spiral around an initial small square

Cutting started with three passes on either side of the centre point in straight lines to create a central block of approx 10 m by 10 m. The next pass started on the right and continued around in an anti-clockwise direction and proceeded in a spiral until the edges of the field were reached. On three sides of the field this was reached at the same point, but the remaining side required several more passes. In order to avoid long distances of travel while not mowing, we took the decision to mow in either direction on the corners, returning passes in a clockwise direction requiring driving on the uncut crop. The field margins were cut as a traditional headland in an anticlockwise direction to maintain the uncut margins. The crop was spread after mowing then turned and rowed up conventionally for baling.


Method 1
Method 1

Although cut in a spiral, turning & baling were carried out conventionally
Although cut in a spiral, turning & baling were carried out conventionally

The second method involved a smaller 5.35 ac (2.16 ha) field of almost square shape with some trees and bushes within. Cutting a traditional headland on two opposing sides created an area for turning while the other two margins were kept intact. A mid point was cut between the two headlands forming a central opening followed by passes on either side in each direction. At first this approach involved some tight turns, and ended with some very long turns on the later passes. Although this makes for efficient method for very long, narrow fields, the square shape reduced the turning:mowing ratio to unsustainable levels.


Method 2
Method 2

As per the RSPB guide to CFM a round field containing a central pond or copse is the ideal shape for most efficient mowing but also one of the least likely shapes encountered, so I question its value as an example. Our final field contained a pond close to the margins of the south-eastern corner and was also the most challenging. Beginning by circling the pond in a clockwise direction, followed by subsequent anti-clockwise passes was reminiscent of the first example, however this created a large irregular area on the north & western sides of the field. With a conventional headland created on the western side and the pond margins on which to turn along the eastern side, we proceeded to mow conventionally, subsequently opening up several sections and mowing until a narrow strip was left in each. These were left overnight to give the birds chance to escape to the larger field margins under the cover of darkness.


Method 3
Method 3

This represented the most conventional method and followed a technique suggested by farmers on the Cowal peninsula on the west coast of Scotland. Although differing little in terms of time and efficiency compared to conventional mowing, the break in mowing, depending upon the layout of the farm, may not be practical for efficient working. This may be avoided by flushing any birds manually, on foot, before completion of mowing.


Uncut strips were left overnight for corncrakes to disperse before mowing
Uncut strips were left overnight for corncrakes to disperse before mowing

It is commonly accepted that delaying mowing until August negates the need for CFM, giving breeding birds the chance to fledge before mowing commences. However this may not be possible later in the season due to time constraints. Staggering cutting dates also allows for a greater variety of vegetation lengths across breeding habitats, as preferred by post-breeding corncrakes and other ground nesting birds, than clear cutting over a shorter period of time. It is also less desirable for farmers to sit-out periods of favourable haymaking weather whilst awaiting an uncertain August.


Given the small numbers of birds present it is not possible to quantify the effectiveness of either method in terms of chick survival but RSPB figures suggest that survival rates increase from 40 to at least 80% with CFM. However, with knowledge of corncrake behaviour it is reasonable to assume that method 1 gives the greatest opportunity for escape. Whilst this represents a reasonable efficiency compromise, it may be less desirable to tractor drivers having to work in the round. The method is also limited to largely square fields containing few obstacles.


Efficiency of mowing by CFM method
Efficiency of mowing by CFM method

Method 2 is largely only practical for narrow fields, in which case it is likely that efficiency would rise significantly to almost 100% and the method does still provide good opportunity for escape.


In terms of efficiency method 3 seems hard to beat but it does still force corncrakes into an ever-decreasing island of grass and creates open ground, therefore increasing the chances of mortality. Flushing birds on foot before mowing also gives an opportunity to survey numbers for a relatively small decrease in efficiency. In this case 0.5 hours spent flushing would represent 87.5% efficiency.


If the breeding success and spread of corncrakes it is to improve it is important that farmers and land managers are encouraged to consider methods to reduce mortality alongside habitat provision. Any losses in efficiency also represent a financial cost to the farmer which must be taken into consideration otherwise this might lead to further abandonment and loss of favourable corncrake habitat.



If you know of any alternative methods or experience of CFM please share & discuss them using the comments below;


By Rosewood Farm, Aug 16 2017 02:11AM

Welcome news has arrived this week that Michael Gove has announced government plans to make CCTV compulsory in all English abattoirs. Many people are rejoicing at this news after many years of campaigns from by groups such as the British Veterinary Association and Compassion in World Farming, that it will raise animal welfare standards in abattoirs but I’m more than a little concerned.


One thing I’m not concerned about is the way our animals are handled when they are killed. We are lucky to have not one but two small abattoirs that can butcher our livestock without ever leaving the Lower Derwent Valley. The larger of the two, at Escrick, already has CCTV installed that you can see on screens when you walk in but it is a longer journey away from the farm by road as it involves a river crossing. The closer of the two is literally a stone’s throw away from the fields where our animals graze, and the handling of the animals is nothing short of excellent, so I don’t forsee any problem with CCTV being monitored here. In fact the abattoir is so small that you stand more chance of missing any wrong-doing by looking at a screen than you do watching what is happening immediately at the end of your nose.

Monitoring of the slaughter process is a significant and increasing cost
Monitoring of the slaughter process is a significant and increasing cost

My worries, however, are not to do with CCTV per se, but the cumulative effect of an increasing regulatory burden on small abattoirs. Our business of rearing beef and lamb from the grasslands of the Yorkshire Ings relies upon local butchers who can handle small numbers of animals. Increased travelling times are not good for the animal, nor are they good for the viability of these grasslands. When slaughtering cattle we have a trip to take the animals, another the next day to collect the offal, a third when we deliver trays and a fourth when we collect the meat after hanging. Moving the abattoir out of the valley therefore has an effect equal to four times the distance away from the farm. As we travel locally anyway to check animals and generally go about our daily lives the added travel is negligible, but the further away the abattoir is, the less viable local food becomes.


The news of a fire at Scotland’s only large scale pig abattoir highlights the problem with having fewer, larger businesses to handle all of our food. The facilities at Brechin were state of the art, newly refurbished for better animal handling and welfare. Unfortunately this was of no advantage when the abattoir closed due to fire damage and the animals instead found themselves travelling an extra 300 miles to the nearest abattoir able to take that number of animals. I’m sure that few animal welfare organisations would say that a journey of 300 miles is a positive thing, but it is being repeated on a smaller and less noticeable scale around the country every time an abattoir closes.

Abattoir closures mean longer journeys for livestock
Abattoir closures mean longer journeys for livestock

The cost of CCTV is not an insurmountable sum for any business, and even these proposals are more about collection of evidence than additional monitoring but it is an added cost nonetheless. Abattoirs have experienced large but incremental increases in regulation over the years that go largely unnoticed by the public, CCTV is probably the most public-centric of these regulations. Many of the regulations are implemented with sound reasoning behind them and also represent a relatively small costs to the business, but they all play a part in the viability of small businesses.


You may say that if a business’ income is so marginal that a simple piece of legislation is enough to make it unviable then they shouldn’t be in business in the first place. Unfortunately this measure only addresses the financial viability of the service. It’s of little comfort to us as we depend upon the provision of those services in order to continue farming in the valley. The economies of scale would make it even less viable for us to set up our own abattoir on the farm, and we’d still be faced with the same level of regulation as the people who have been slaughtering animals in the village since 1890.


In 1985 Britain had 1000 abattoirs, today that number has been reduced by 4/5ths - a consequence largely of a major increase in the cost of meat hygiene inspections, brought about by EU legislation in the early 1990’s. The cost of setting up a new abattoir remains prohibitively high at £1-1.5 million, placing the future of UK livestock farming in real jeopardy in many parts of the country today. It’s little wonder that those who wish to see the end of livestock farming are celebrating the prospect of increased regulation for abattoirs - it's a clear indication of the threat to our food sovereignty & further degradation of food security.


Small abattoirs maintain local food sovereignty
Small abattoirs maintain local food sovereignty

Many people congratulate us on the work we do at Rosewood, from conservationists keen to encourage rare species of wildlife to animal welfarists seeking to encourage the farming of animals outdoors, but it’s important to remember that without sales of meat, we couldn’t achieve what we do. The importance of our small abattoirs and butchers cannot be overstated - they are as vital to the maintenance of these wildlife rich habitats as we are, and the key to the future of this traditional floodplain landscape.


I do not oppose the principle of animal welfare assurances such as CCTV being installed in abattoirs at all, I merely seek assurance that the added cost and inconvenience will not be borne by the small businesses on which we depend. The good news is that these proposals are open to consultation for six weeks so if you are a farmer, butcher or concerned member of the public interested in animal welfare I urge you to take part and support my calls for these assurances. Let this not become an opportunity for the government to further damage our ability to produce and sell food locally, with the environment at the forefront. The consultation closes on the 21st September 2017 and you can comment on the proposals here.






By Rosewood Farm, Aug 15 2017 11:45PM

I woke up this morning and stared at the computer screen. There on Twitter was an appeal by the Wildlife Trusts urging us to support the Perry Mead Wildflower Project. I thought about the wording - a phrase I’ve used many times myself over the years, and what it means.


Essentially it is a very dry statistic 97% is almost all of our wildflower meadows, gone. The 1930’s is recent enough to be shocking, but far enough away to be forgotten - you’d need to be at least 83 to remember those days with any certainty. Most people, indeed most farmers, alive today do not have much contact with wildflower meadows - most of our food production seeks to eliminate unwanted ‘weeds’ aka wildflowers, as they are of little [financial] value to the crop.


To myself, however, this figure is shocking, I acutely feel the need to save these meadows for future generations. I sat back and considered why this might be - my immediate thought was that my mind is both logical and scientific. The fact that this blog hasn’t won the prize for the most boring piece of text on the internet is down to my proofreader and biggest critic Nat. She may have an equally logical mind but it is complimented by being visual and linguistic, which takes the dull edge off my writing. So I reconsidered the statement though her eyes and realised that it had nothing to do with the language but my own experience.


Having grown up in the Yorkshire Ings, and subsequent return after brief spells away, I’ve now come to realise that we’ve retained something very special here - our wildlife. We tend to think of ‘wildlife’ as animals, the big game of the African plains or Amazon rainforest, forgetting that it is, or was, all around us. Wild flowers may seem pretty tame next to large carnivores but they are no less important to our overall experience of the countryside and if you no longer see them it is easy to forget that they were ever there. When you visit the Ings you are not only seeing wildflowers, birds and animals, you are stepping back in time to immerse yourself in the sights & sounds that our great grandparents took for granted.

Ragged Robin was once a much more common sight in the meadows of England
Ragged Robin was once a much more common sight in the meadows of England

Later today I sat down again to read an article shared by one of our partners in the Yorkshire Ings, Natural England. The question they were asking was is it ‘time to change how we talk about it to show the love?’ The author of the article was environmental Marmite himself George Monbiot - he doesn’t always get it right, but today was different. The article, Forget ‘the environment’: we need new words to convey life’s wonders is all about the effect of linguistics on our natural world. I couldn’t help but feel that Mr Monbiot has identified a problem that we all need to overcome.


On this note, I was using twitter again the other day to discuss the #EnvironmentalSucess hashtag that has been highlighting the value of British farming to the environment. In response to a tweet about the value of wildflower arable margins I mentioned how nice it would be to see ‘whole fields full of flowers again’. I had meant that I would like to see more wildflowers allowed to flourish within the crop but the farmer mistook my intention as replacing the crop with wildflowers. Again, we had fallen victim to linguistics - I was envisaging making arable crops as biodiverse as our grasslands while he was thinking I wanted to replace his crop with ‘weeds’.


This is a perfect example of what Natural England were referring to when they said;



While Mr Monbiot may not agree with a financial value being placed upon the natural world I can see the need for it.. As recent reports show, the public already vastly overestimate farming incomes (oddly I couldn’t find reference to this in The Guardian newspaper) so there is little wonder that there is an expectation for farmers to deliver more.


Wildlife is an asset to any community and it’s important that those encouraging it to thrive are valued so that they might continue to do so. Many businesses benefit from a community that is rich in wildlife with visitors spending their hard earned cash to experience nature first hand. Property values will reflect their location and local jobs may be created on the back of nature, despite no direct investment in its upkeep.


I can’t help thinking that we waste too much energy disagreeing about language. In a world where costs are high and returns low we, as conservationists and farmers, must have a three-way conversation with the general public so that we may shape our language to better understand one another.


Meanwhile at Rosewood we still struggle to define ourselves - on Facebook we are categorised as an Environmental conservation organisation while Google has us down as a Butchers and Bing has us as a Farmshop. None of the three categories are incorrect, but neither do they give the right impression of who we are or what we do. Farmers is the most accurate term, but at the same time it is the least informative. How do you describe Rosewood to your friends?







By Rosewood Farm, Jul 16 2017 05:49PM



Why aren’t there more farms like Rosewood? is a question I often hear, which does have a very short and simple answer, but more of that later. Unless you’ve been following us for sometime, you are unlikely to know what it is that makes us different, and for that we need to go back in time to talk about how Rosewood Farm came to be.


We grew up as part of a large extended farming-family, in the 1970’s and 80’s, so farming was always in the blood. Both families were mixed arable and dairy farms, very traditional with about 50-60 cows each, grazing on summer pastures and rearing the calves for beef. In farming the ‘farm’ was an entity in itself, a being around which life revolved. Both holidays and weddings were timed around hay making or harvest, and the daily routine was heavily influenced by milking twice a day, every single day.

The family dairy herd grazing in the Ings Photo credit: K Laverack
The family dairy herd grazing in the Ings Photo credit: K Laverack

The 1990’s were a time of great change for agriculture, the cracks were beginning to appear in the post-war drive for intensification. Europe’s farms were more productive than ever before, boosted by subsidies from the EU that encouraged us to produce more food but which, ironically, had made food cheaper and less able to support the people who produce it. This effectively spelled the end of farming for our family, the writing was on the wall, the family business was approaching the end of the line.


Paul and myself had both wanted to carry on the family dairy farm, working before & after school, and throughout the holidays to gain experience. The inevitability of it not being possible, however, was always there, so we both had to accept that it wasn’t going to happen. We set out to continue a path in farming, and went to agricultural college alongside working on farms to gain a wide variety of experience in the world of farming. This coincided with the establishment of the pedigree Dexter cattle herd, which began what we know as Rosewood today.


Despite being a mixed farmer at heart, during and after college Paul found himself working on a conventional arable farm, albeit it one that enabled him to follow his passion for tinkering with old machinery. Meanwhile I was studying for a diploma in agriculture and working on a variety of farms from intensive pig and arable farms in East Yorkshire to an upland sheep farm in Wales. Always taking an interest in animals and biology, my own passion became clear when I began my second-year assignment on forage crops. The result was a document that was five times longer than any other assignment I had written and fully illustrated, in colour!


Cultivating land in prairie-like fields used to be my 'day job'
Cultivating land in prairie-like fields used to be my 'day job'

Agriculture is an important sector in the UK, but it is dwarfed by the ancillary industries that provide farming with a plethora of products and services from tractors to software, and it is these which eventually employ the majority of agricultural students today. With an interest in livestock and biology, I decided to follow the diploma with a course in animal science, still unsure where I would end up.


During my final year at college I was somewhat rail roaded into studying the effects of comparing homegrown and milled feed with commercially formulated rations in lamb production, both absolutely grain fed, far removed from my passion. I had wanted to study more interesting subjects that were closer to my heart, such as the fascinating genetics of my own breed, the Dexter, or the behaviour of the ‘wild’ cattle of Chillingham. Unfortunately for me these subjects were too far removed from anything that happens as part of ‘commercial’ modern agriculture and my tutors were not keen.


The public perception of lamb production is one of lambs skipping around in fields, but I found myself weighing lambs each week to compare the two rations. These lambs never left the shed they were born in during January until the end of their lives three or four months later, providing for the comparatively high prices of the ‘new season’ spring lamb market. It didn’t sit right with me, compared to my own grassfed cattle at home which were grazed on pastures for two seasons (part of the fallout from the BSE-crisis was that cattle at the time were only allowed to be eaten if were they slaughtered at 30 months of age or younger) and never received a sniff of grain.


To my surprise, the home grown ration out performed the purchased feed, with the lambs fed on grains grown and milled on the farm. It got me thinking about how farmers are ‘fed’ the formulated rations by outsiders who have a product to sell, rather than making use of the farmers own knowledge and experience (and feed!).


Farmers, being on the frontline of the countryside, are often the first to be criticised for changes that lead to problems with animal welfare or wildlife. The best way I can describe ‘agriculture’ is like a combine harvester - farmers are like the header, seen to be gathering in the crop at the front. Internally there is lots going on which very few people see, the engine [supermarkets] is in the middle, pushing farmers along, controlling the rate and speed of all the other processes, including how much is wasted. Out of the back, out comes the processed product, looking quite different from what went in. It is that way because not everyone *needs* to know how a combine works in order to benefit from the food it produces.



The food industry; like a giant combine with mysterious internal machanisms
The food industry; like a giant combine with mysterious internal machanisms

By the early 2000’s there seemed to be a growing public interest in the process of food production. The internet was just beginning to become popular and we decided that a website was the perfect way for the consumer to learn more about exactly where their food comes from. It provided a window into farming, giving unprecedented access between the farm and the consumer. I started to use the internet to talk to others, both farmers and consumers, about how and why food was produced in the way it was.


Paul and I had both independently come to the same conclusion that we simply didn’t want to continue work with the chemicals that conventional agriculture had come to rely upon. They were unpleasant to apply and we didn’t think they were having a positive effect on the land or wildlife. Our main contact with these chemicals was in arable farming, but they are also involved in more intensive grazed livestock systems too. We decided that our own farm would be different and we set out to offer the consumer a genuine choice.


We found that farming without chemicals was tough - not because things didn’t grow without them but because the support network for farmers was so heavily-ingrained in the chemical culture. Most solutions include a bottle on the shelf that can be applied for best results and we got more than a few funny looks when we said that we don’t use chemicals. “Oh, so you’re organic?” “Well, no, not organic, we just don’t use chemicals”. We can see why other farmers take the advice - it’s hard going being a rebel.


This became easier when I met a kindred spirit in Natalie in 2009 and together we have been able to continue experimenting and improving, working with other farmers and conservationists to really push forward and build upon our success.


It was equally hard going with our choice of cattle too - Dexters. They suit our system because they are tough, sometimes stubborn, and massively independent (just like us, you might say). Few farmers see Dexters as a commercial breed though, and rightly so because the system is not set up to make best use of small, grassfed cattle. As such we’ve had to buck the trend of selling livestock at market and go direct to you, the customer, instead.


Dexters are much smaller than most cattle - not what the supermarkets want
Dexters are much smaller than most cattle - not what the supermarkets want

Instead of being the header of the combine, harvesting the crop and passing it on to the next stage, Rosewood has had to take on all the roles within the machine. We produce, process, package, sell and distribute our product. This has given us almost total control over how we do things and as a result we have been able to ensure that our farming methods produce good food that has a positive effect upon the wonderful wildlife we have here in the Yorkshire Ings.


The conventional markets take the animal and divide it into individual components with steaks supplying pubs & restaurants, joints made into ‘steak’ pies, mince into burgers and offal sent all the way to China. The quantities of each required by the restaurants or fast food places mean that they are selling meat from many many different animals.

We need to sell every bit of the animal, not just the steaks!
We need to sell every bit of the animal, not just the steaks!

At our scale if we supply a restaurant with 4 sirloins a week that not only means that our customers miss out on steaks (already one of our most popular cuts!) but we also have two animals-worth of joints, mince & dice that all needs to find a suitable home. We can’t kill an animal for the steaks alone and China isn’t interested in a single liver each week either. The restaurant too can change their menu at a moments notice - not something we can quickly respond to for an animal that is many years in the making.


So, back to our initial question - why aren’t there many more farms like Rosewood? The answer, as I said before, is simple; the one thing that remains outside of our control is what you, the consumer, chooses to buy & eat each day. Our passion may be the grasslands and the vast array of wildlife that they support but passion alone can only achieve so much and as much as we’d like to, it’s not possible for us to work for free. Rosewood Farm may now be full of wildlife but if the bank account is empty it’s not a model that many can afford to copy.



By Rosewood Farm, Jun 4 2017 09:54PM

You may remember my blog back in January, detailing my concerns about David Attenborough’s excellent series, Planet Earth II. I also mentioned how we didn’t catch the whole series when aired and I particularly wanted another chance to see my favourite habitat and episode from the whole series; Grasslands. The opportunity came when I selflessly invested in the DVD along with a subscription to BBC Wildlife magazine for my wife’s Christmas present.


Despite working alongside it day in, day out, I much prefer reading all about the wildlife I see right here on my doorstep. The Lower Derwent Valley is home to such a rich diversity of mammal, bird, and insect life as a result of being managed continuously in a very traditional way for more than 1000 years. All of these animals depend upon the flood meadows, pastures and woodlands that make up the most complete example of a semi-natural floodplain ecosystem left in the UK, and I feel that it continues to be a much under-appreciated landscape.


The Yorkshire Ings have some of the finest examples of wildflower meadows
The Yorkshire Ings have some of the finest examples of wildflower meadows

The June edition of Wildlife magazine didn’t disappoint me, with an article by BBC Springwatch presenter Chris Packham dedicated to wildflower meadows. As Chris says, up to 98% of our natural grasslands have already gone in the space of just 50 years. I highlighted this in my last blog, about how these High Nature Value grasslands are very special. What makes Rosewood Farm extra special is that 95% of the 450 acres we farm are traditional, species-rich meadows.


Meadows are currently missing their champion - both veganism & reduced meat consumption are on trend with many celebrities at the moment and this is bad news for our wildflower meadows and grazing livestock. As a result, with fewer animals on farms, meadows have lost their reason for being and are instead being turned over by the plough to grow the foods that people demand more of.


But why have other farmers given them up?


In tough economic times, farmers have to weigh up the value of the grass produced from these meadows against the cost of time and fuel turning them into hay and grazing them. In better times for farming, more intensive cropping elsewhere may have subsidised, to a degree, the work but now it’s much harder to justify continuing to do something that you know represents an added cost to your business.


A couple of things changed for farmers in the post war years that made mono-cropping easier and altered the fortunes of traditional meadows. The first was the availability of selective herbicides in 1945. You are probably familiar with the most notorious of herbicides - Monsanto’s RoundUp, which kills any plant it touches (unless the plant is genetically modified to withstand it). Instead selective herbicides work by allowing certain plants to be killed whilst leaving the crop unharmed. By eliminating competition from other plants, the crop thrives and any fertilisers applied feed only the crop and not the ‘weeds’.

The plastic perforated drainage pipe killed many a meadow
The plastic perforated drainage pipe killed many a meadow

The second change was the invention of the perforated plastic drainage pipe in the late 1950’s. This made drainage of farmland far cheaper and easier than ever before and as a result land that was once only good for damp-tolerant perennial plants such as grasses can now grow a whole variety of annual cultivated crops.


Continuing with the article, my hopes were built up when I read the line ‘the only way we can hope to preserve these species-rich places is…’. However, hope turned to dismay at an opportunity lost as he continued ‘...by visiting and celebrating them’. I’m all for spreading the word about how important grasslands are to wildlife and to us all, but the only way, seriously? I think not. The best way we can preserve meadows in the long term is to maintain their value and continue the traditional use that created them in the first place - with grazing animals.


Breaking with my habit of only reading about our local wildlife, I moved next to another article in the same magazine titled ‘Of Bison & Burgers’, which was all about how the demise of the both the wild bison of North America and the Great Plains on which they grazed. This resonated with me as it sounded very much like the loss of traditional grasslands from the previous article. However, the author of this piece proposed a very different solution for the preservation of wild bison - eating them!


The Ings are Yorkshire’s Great Plains
The Ings are Yorkshire’s Great Plains

I didn’t realise until the very end that I had been reading an article by Philip Lymbery of Compassion in World Farming, but I felt that he had grasped the crux of the problem far better than Chris Packham had. If we are to preserve a landscape, and the wildlife within it, influenced by man for millennia, it is wishful thinking to expect a totally hands-off approach to achieve the same results. This is what they have found in America’s Yellowstone National Park, one of the few remaining places you can still find wild bison, which culls the bison to avoid them becoming over populated and suffering due to lack of grazing.


Philip also highlighted another crucial issue - the fact that whenever a solution like eating wild bison becomes popular, a whole host of cheaper pseudo-versions spring up to take advantage of the ethical reputation of the name without going to the bother of supplying the genuine article. This has happened too in the UK, when ‘grassfed’ beef became the latest ethical cuisine. The problem for the consumer is that 100% grassfed can mean anything from our 1000-year old hay meadows to the latest varieties of mono-cultured ryegrasses sprayed with liquid nitrogen fertiliser and various herbicides to ensure that ‘weeds’ (or wildflowers, as we know them) don’t take hold.



Most marketeers of grassfed meat will wax lyrical about the value of traditional wildflower meadows, but how many actually feed their cattle on them?

Rosewood is all about supplying the genuine article. We have built everything around preserving our local Yorkshire landscape of wildflower meadows by turning back the clock on cattle farming. This starts with breeding cattle of the right size that can traverse the damp ground damaging neither the soils nor the plants. Careful management also ensures that our pastures provide the ideal habitat for insect and birdlife that once existed in abundance, before the advent of pesticides. Our cattle feed only on grasses & wildflowers grown without any artificial fertilisers or pesticides, including our own hay made right here on the farm.


You can celebrate our wildflower meadows and help to keep them alive. Throw a party or go for a picnic but don’t forget that the food on your plate has the biggest impact upon the landscape around you. We’ll happily keep preserving the meadows here at Rosewood for as long as you keep buying the beef.


By Rosewood Farm, May 15 2017 10:43PM


The week started on an enormous nature-high for us here at Rosewood. The biggest breakthrough yet in our entire time here; an unexpected vindication that we were correct in our hunch that ditching the Countryside Stewardship Scheme, which in theory paid us to do better things for nature, was the right decision.


Elsewhere, things aren’t going so well as two pieces of news show. The first story made The Times when People Need Nature founder Miles King flagged up the destruction of a piece of precious chalk downland grass - the stuff that’s famous for its rare and delicate butterflies and flowers. It was sprayed and reseeded with a far less diverse grass mixture that will feed livestock better, but can’t ever hope to play host to said butterflies.


The news has reached the national press!
The news has reached the national press!

This isn’t unusual of course, as the second story showed - the much less widely reported output from the Organic Research Centre which spoke of the abandonment by farmers of High Nature Value (HNV) grasslands [pdf] over the next five years. I almost spat my tea out when I read that, as I have been witnessing and talking about this exodus for the last five years! We’ve already lost 97% of our unimproved grasslands but it’s just not as newsworthy to neglect them as to spray and grub them up, so few notice the loss.


High Nature Value grasslands are pretty self explanatory, they provide a lot of nature bang for your buck….the trouble is, they don’t provide much buck for your bang! They’ve been around for a few thousand years though, what’s changed? My answer would be that there’s a piece of the puzzle missing - you guys! In the past, these grasslands fed us, they produced our beef, cheese, woollens and mutton, making a good stab at providing a good portion of our diet and clothing. They were important to all of us.



Moving away from these old fashioned products made a lot of money for importers, oil companies and so forth, but the loss of the old grasslands was noticed, you can rest assured. The government and conservation bodies have tried to plug the gap left by consumers by subsidising these grasslands, giving farmers money to keep them going - so long as we stuck to the rules, we could have some money. I think after about 20yrs of that though we’re finally realising it hasn’t worked. We can come up with complex reasoning about it but basically, we’ve run out of money. The taxpayer can’t afford to buy food AND keep throwing money at keeping all these habitats going, not with the NHS buckling under pressure and economies slowing down and so on aswell.


So why not put them back together? Food and conservation? Our grasslands are lost without you!


In 2013, we didn’t renew our Countryside Stewardship Scheme when it ended, and we didn’t replace it with any other subsidy. Our home land at Rosewood is not under any protection and is now not subsidised either, we’re totally reliant on you. Under the scheme, we had to stick to a hard and fast rule of not grazing before a certain date in the year. We had been chafing against this for a few years but still, we were hesitant to graze any earlier even after it ended - we’re supposed to be nature farmers and it felt naughty, even though we know our grazing system is gentle on the land. This year, we finally plucked up the courage and grazed the land concerned unprecedentedly early, and due to the size of our herd, we were able to graze it quickly, 100 Dexter cows getting 20 acres trimmed, fertilised by dung and moistened by pee in a matter of days.


1% of the UK population of Whimbrels on a single field
1% of the UK population of Whimbrels on a single field

And what happened? That nature high I was talking about. The whimbrels came. Whimbrels are a red list species, they’re like a smaller version of the curlew and pass through on their way to Iceland from Africa every year. We know they visit the nature reserve we graze and that they are extremely fussy about where they eat and frankly, it wasn’t even on our radar that they would come to us - we have never even laid eyes on one on the reserve - so we were bowled over to spot 31, a full 1% of the passage population, poking about among the cowpats on our land.


Or should that be your land? Because let’s face it, one day, no matter how rich we might be, our grip on the land will loosen and we’ll be gone forever. The land will remain, and if it keeps its value to the public the incentive will be there for some other human to come along and keep doing what we did, and the whimbrels can keep coming. When a farmer sprays off some HNV grassland, he’s not acting alone.




By Rosewood Farm, Apr 1 2017 11:40PM


It's not so long ago that I blogged about Sainsbury’s and how if they really want people to eat less meat, they should stop selling it. Well, this week I decided to compare our prices with Tesco, as we’ve always strived to keep in line with the cost of the supermarket mid-range level. However, I stumbled in the low-end section and was utterly shocked by what I saw!



Rosewood Price - 100% traceable
Rosewood Price - 100% traceable

Here at Rosewood our prices are maintained at a level that is fair - we don’t want to charge too much and exclude people on a low income from eating good food. Nor do we want to charge too little so that we have to cut corners and let down our animals or destroy the environment in the process. Our Grassfed Dexter beef mince costs £9.20 per kg, and for that price we make a lot of promises. Our prices also include the cost of delivery so they are bound to be a little more but I don’t just want to compare Tesco with Rosewood, as when it comes to tasty beef, there is no comparison.


You will likely have heard all about Tesco and the controversy over their fake farms scandal, branding generic produce as if it came from a single, identifiable source has increased their profits. Well, they got away with it and are still selling products such as Boswell Farms “beef” mince (pictured below). The price looks amazing at just £3.38 per kg, and if you know anything about cattle pricing it’s even more unbelievable.




'Boswell Farms' - produced somewhere, by someone
'Boswell Farms' - produced somewhere, by someone

In days gone by supermarkets, wholesalers and butchers all had to compete for the best animals available at live auction markets. The cattle taken to market could be sold on the day or brought home if they didn’t make enough money, then returned the following week. Numerous factors changed this, a big one being ‘biosecurity’ - there were concerns over disease being spread between animals from different farms when they met at market, with unsold animals returning to the farm.


The supermarkets seized upon this and ‘sold’ it as an advantage to the farmer if his/her cattle could only move onto to an abattoir and avoid the risk of bringing back disease. Of course it also meant that the farmer has lost market discretion - you must accept the price, whatever it may be, and therefore the decision to sell must be made based upon the market prices from the previous week, which made selling even more of a gamble.


To take the gamble out of selling the supermarkets offered an olive branch - sell direct to them, delivering the animals to the supermarkets own abattoirs and you will receive a pre-determined price, providing the animals were of the right ‘specification’ (see below). The trouble was that the price offered was based upon the ‘market price’ and with direct contracts supermarkets no longer had to bid at the auctions. With fewer buyers available at the market, the price reduced further as at the same time supermarkets were outcompeting traditional butchers who couldn’t offer the cling-wrapped all-under-one-roof convenient shopping experience that shoppers now demanded.


Pricing for cattle that were no longer bought and sold while still alive had to be by the ‘deadweight’. That is the price for the carcass only, minus the head, feet, skin and insides, etc. which represents 45 - 50% of the live bodyweight. The carcass specification is determined by its on its conformation (shape) and fatness, with higher prices paid for animals that better match the buyer's demands. The deadweight system eliminates risk for the buyers as they are no longer have to pay for the bits they don’t want, although the price is usually higher than the ‘liveweight’ price to compensate.



Deadweight Cattle Price - something doesn't add up
Deadweight Cattle Price - something doesn't add up

As you can see from the current average cattle pricing, taken from Farmers Weekly today (02/04/2017) the highest price paid (the one for carcasses that will yield the most saleable weight for the supermarket) is 324p per kg, or in other words just 14p less than ‘Boswell Farms’ beef mince. That’s not to say that Tesco has made 14p per kg, as they will have to pay to run the abattoir, package and transport the product. Also, a carcass still contains a lot of extra weight in the form of bone and excess fat, which can represent a third of the deadweight giving an actual cost of 486p per kg of saleable meat.


At that price what Tesco, or ‘Boswell Farms’, are selling must be, essentially, a waste product of meat processing. The online information states that the animal was slaughtered in United Kingdom, Ireland (one of the two, I guess) and by investigating the UK code (5416) it turns out that the Hilton Food Group plc in Cambridgeshire was responsible for mincing it. We have no idea where exactly the animal was born or raised, where it was slaughtered or how far it travelled. All we do know is that the meat has travelled at least 530 miles before it reaches the York Tesco store. Even if you live in Penzance and order from Rosewood you still save at least 342 food miles!


Pricing is a little more complicated, as some cuts are more expensive than others, but mince is also the cut that requires the most work to produce, de-boning, cutting and mincing. It is the most convenient way to cook and eat grassfed beef though, and remains one of our most popular choicess. The advantage of eating beef from Rosewood Farm is that you know that it was grown in the Lower Derwent Valley in Yorkshire. If you check out the slaughter/cutting code on every pack we sell, you can also trace it back to the abattoir, which you will find is also located in the LDV. We include the individual animal ID code too, so you can get in touch with us for the full life history of the animal, including which fields it grazed in, for total peace of mind.



By Rosewood Farm, Mar 19 2017 04:14PM

The release of the book Dead Zone, Where the Wild Things Were by Philip Lymbery, of Compassion in World Farming, this week reminds us that what we eat, three times every day, has a direct impact upon the variety of wild plants and animals that survive beside us in our countryside. Here at Rosewood Farm we are mindful to ensure that how we farm not only eliminates harm to other species around the world, but actively restores and enhances the biodiversity of our local landscape. Like all great culinary delights, this doesn't happen by accident, and is the result of carefully following and refining the recipe. Here's how it's done;


Biodiversity is a dish best served warm, or cold, depending upon where in the world (and the season) that it is being prepared, but most important of all it must never be reheated! The best biodiversity is a deeply satisfying, healthy and sustaining meal.


You will notice that some recipes call for you to omit key elements in order to make the nature even better, but anyone who knows the texture of a true, authentic biodiversity will recognise that it is all about the balance of many different flavours. Crustless alternatives are possible to make, but not recommended as they tend to be weak & lacking in structure, more prone to collapse as you bring them to the table.



For the pasture base;






For the filling;




Serve with carefully-selected, seasonal fresh vegetables, but go easy on them to leave plenty of room for more biodiversity. Many types of biodiversity made in the UK can be frozen and last all year but don’t rely too much on storage, as the results will degrade over time. If you get the correct balance there is no need to repeat the steps above, just keep on enjoying the results.


Whilst many hosts may push the boat out for special occasions and order in some biodiversity to impress their guests, it is important to maintain demand year-round to ensure a steady, continuous supply. There are lots of different garnishes and flavourings to ensure that it never becomes dull!





By Rosewood Farm, Feb 12 2017 04:54PM

Storytime from the farm this Sunday as Natalie relates the ongoing Saga of Seavy Carr:


When we released 80 cows onto 80 acres of overgrown nothing, I remember thinking it was maybe a good idea to ask the local hunt if they could help us round them back up again! Dexters are extremely lively cattle and love to give us a nice bit of exercise whenever they can. Such a large area, full of bogs, definitely gives them the upper hand! Unfortunately, I did nothing about that idea and my worst fears came true - three humans were all we had to bring them back in. Rob and Paul were good cross country runners at school. I was always last. Those two would make good hunt horses, if they were horses, but I'd be a plough horse...

A bit of water is no problem for Dexter cattle
A bit of water is no problem for Dexter cattle

Things could not be put off any longer though, for a couple of reasons. The first was our TB test. Even though we are in one of the lowest risk areas, we still have to be tested every four years, no argument. The second was that there had been a mix up and a cow had ended up having a calf out there. Luckily, being a tough-ass Dexter, mother and baby were absolutely fine but we were naturally worried about her having been on such a poor diet - only our non childbearing animals were supposed to be out there!


Unfortunately, we got very delayed getting everything organised and it was all shunted to the day before the TB test meaning we could afford absolutely no failures in the rounding up process. To make things that bit harder, the morning brought thick fog meaning we couldn't actually see any cows. All this meant the round up didn't begin until near 4pm, at which time I had to leave to take our daughter to her dance lesson (she loves her dancing so skipping it isn't an option!).


This was *really* tricky, because the piece of ground is crisscrossed with ditches which are all brimming at this time of year. Cows can simply barrel through them, but humans can't unless they want to soak their wellies. Our plan had hinged on sending Rob to the far end, using Paul as 'bait' calling to the cows. The lads and their cows have co-evolved together for over 20 years and just a call from one of them is enough to bring them running for the promise of fresh grass - they don't listen to me! When we move the sheep the roles are reversed, they will happily run to me and the lads bring up the rear instead. So I was supposed to take over the pushing from behind when the cows had forded the main dyke, leaving Rob on dry land at the far end. In the event, 'good luck out there' was all I could say and I had to leave them to it!

Grazing has created some open habitat; ideal nesting sites for wading birds
Grazing has created some open habitat; ideal nesting sites for wading birds

I did however pick up a bucket of feed when I collected our daughter and hopped out to drop it off at the site on our way to her lesson. Rosewood bred cows don't know what feed is, they spend their lives birth to death only eating forage; we do have some bought in cows though, and they certainly remember what it is to be fed! I thought the feed may help.


I got an enormous stroke of luck when I dropped the bucket off. Rob and Paul were nowhere to be seen, pushing the stragglers out of the far corner, but the frontrunners of the herd had already reached the corral. There wasn't much I could do to help, but I thought of a plan that may help after I'd left - I rattled the bucket and the nearest cow, a big red galleon of a bought in cow, immediately and joyfully ran to the bucket and stuck her head in. I gave her a mouthful, then carried the bucket into the corral, climbed out and placed the bucket on the other side of the fence to the greedy cow. Now she knew the feed was there, she was bound to go in confidently when the rest of the herd had been collected, and would lead them in!


I didn't get to see the moment of glory, but a text from Rob later confirmed that the plan had worked brillantly and my hastily arranged sleepover for our daughter at Grandma's while we spent the night chasing cows through dykes in the dark wasn't necessary after all. Paul had remarked though that that was probably the limit of our luck for the forseeable. He was right, because the rain had started and once the first load of cows was in the box, our little old tractor simply slithered in place and couldn't drag the load out.

Homeward bound; the cows are used to their bi-annual tractor-taxi
Homeward bound; the cows are used to their bi-annual tractor-taxi

There was a little bit of luck left, though. While Rob and Paul scratched their heads in the dark and rain, a pair of headlights appeared on the little road going past. It was a pickup, and it slowed at the sight of the bogged tractor. It was a neighbouring arable farmer we work in conjunction with, helping him fulfill his environmental obligations. He was shaking his head at the insanity of what we were up to, but did remark on how well our cows looked on such notoriously poor ground and offered to send a lad round with one of his much bigger tractors to tow us out. If he hadn't, we'd probably still be out there now!


At 5.30am I was awake, being asked for a drink by a four year old. At first I assumed Rob was beside me but on second glance the bed was empty. I winced - this meant there must have been a problem. At about 7 he turned up and told me about the numerous punctures they had suffered during the many trips to ferry 80 cows back to the farm. Rob was falling asleep talking to me so I shunted him off to bed and went out to help Paul create a handling system ready for the vet at 9. Paul was clumsy and slow through lack of sleep but refused coffee and between us we managed to set things up and keep the vet happy.


...Then we did it all again a few days later, but I'm happy to report we have passed another TB test and the first grazing of Seavy Carr is done!


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