Ian Alderson, his wife, Sarah and son, Jim run at 174ha grass and arable farm with 530 ewes, a 23 head suckler herd, 130 store cattle and a free-range broiler unit
Store cattle, all heifers and Charolais-sired, are bought in spring at 10-14 months old from Welshpool and Knighton markets, but from repeat vendors, grazed over summer and finished inside on a home-produced ration and forage.
All cattle are sold deadweight to ABP Shrewsbury at around 24 months old and 320-380kg. Ian is part of Sainsbury’s Beef Development Group. The suckler herd is a new addition to the enterprise with the British Blue, Limousin and Charolais cross cows of mixed ages arriving on-farm in January.
They were bought privately as a batch from a high health herd and great care has been taken to ensure that the same health protocols and vaccination programmes have been continued. A Limousin bull was bought from the same home with the aim of easy calving. The calves were castrated in October before weaning in November.
One of the challenges for Ian and Jim this first winter will be to ensure the continued health of these calves and it is one the key areas they are working on in conjunction with their vet, Harriet Fuller of Marches Veterinary Group.