Ben and Tori Stanley run 80 suckler cows and 270 sheep across three holdings in Derbyshire.
They took on the long term tenancy of 154 hectare (380acre) Park Farm on the Melbourne Estate just four years ago, having previous rented smaller parcels of land on short term lets.
This has given the couple the stability to grow and develop their breeding stock, whereas before this they had focused more on finishing bought in stores.
The suckler herd comprises of Longhorns, Simmentals and Simmental cross Longhorn females with additional Longhorn, Longhorn cross and Belted Galloway strong stores bought in for finishing. There is also a flock of 200 commercial ewes along with 25 Portland, 25 Jacob and 20 Texel pedigree ewes. All beef and lamb is finished on-farm and sold through their farm shop in Kings Newton near Melbourne.
Now that a breeding programme has been established the Stanleys are able to focus more on a health strategy and are looking to breed their own replacements, keeping a closed herd as far as possible.
If it is necessary to buy in stock it is isolated and if entering the breeding herd blood tested. There is the flexibility to keep bought in store cattle on a separate holding to the breeding herd and these are sourced each year from the same local known suckler units which are also blood testing. While Tori and Ben enjoying showing their stock the show team is kept isolated from other animals and no stock is kept in fields adjacent to other stock keeper’s field, these are used for arable or mowing.
They work closely with their vets, Carolyn Baguley and Robert Howard of Scarsdale Vets, Derby, and are currently developing a health plan focussed on monitoring and testing to establish health status and implement disease prevention and management protocols.