Farm manager at Mains Rigg Farm Whitfield, Bevis Jordan will open the gates to the estate’s impressive 125-head suckler herd for the National Beef Association's (NBA) northern region autumn farm walk.

The event will take place on Wednesday, October 17, ahead of the autumn suckler sales.

Jordan has been working with the estate for over 20 years, growing the suckler business into a low-input system producing top quality suckled calves and herd replacements year on year.

He explained that the business model was altered from the farm buying in replacements to breeding its own with the aim of reducing disease risk and improving consistency. He selected the Saler breed to produce maternal replacements.

The herd consists of medium-sized Saler cross cattle with heifers and the Top 10% of cows bred to a Saler bull and the remainder are bred to Limousin stock bulls.

[caption id="attachment_279879" align="aligncenter" width="728"] Handling facilities on the farm[/caption]

The herd achieves over 90% of calves weaned year on year, the majority of cattle calving within a nine-week block with negligible difficulties and all replacement heifers calving at two years old.

Suckled calves are sold in the autumn, with cattle fed through the winter on silage and loose minerals formulated to compliment the farms forage analysis and only heifers fed beef nuts to ensure steady growth.

Pelvic measuring

Jordan puts the herds exceptional calving ease down to the annual pelvic area measuring of potential replacement heifers to ensure that they are fit to calve themselves.

Jordan first saw the tool in practice on a trip to the US and was determined to bring it back to Mains Rigg.

After discussion with Karl Collins, his local vet, the pair set about annually measuring replacement heifers and removing those with measurements too small to calve naturally.

Since implementing pelvic measuring there has been a marked decrease in assisted births, only one or two each year, and no caesareans.

Collins will be on hand at the farm walk to demonstrate how pelvic measuring works on a group of 2017 heifers.

The walk will commence at 12:00pm and will be followed by light refreshments. To book your free place please contact head office on: 01434-601-005; or email: [email protected].