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James Duerden

Killerwick Grange, Cumbria

For Cumbrian beef farmer, James Duerden, the Parthenaise breed offers a winning combination of heavy, lean fleshing cattle coupled with easy calving traits.

James, and his family – parents Mark and Carolyn and sister Emily – have 30 pedigree Parthenaise cattle, which they run alongside a 100-head commercial suckler herd on 90 hectares (222 acres) at Killerwick Grange, Dalton-in-Furness.

They are now aiming to phase out the Longhorn cross Limousin cattle, which make up the majority of the suckler herd, and replace with a pure-bred Parthenaise suckler herd.

The interest in the breed started with the loan of a Parthenaise cross bull. James was impressed by the growth rates of the bull’s progeny and decided to import five females from France in 2013 to ramp up the Killerwick Parthenaise breeding programme.


James has spent considerable time researching the breed and building relationships with leading breeders in France.

Pedigree heifers are kept as replacements, and bulls suitable for breeding are sold on with James saying it is difficult to keep up with the demand for bulls due to the limited availability of Parthenaise semen in the UK.

Semen from Killerwick bulls is now also available for the UK and international markets.

The Parthenaise bulls are also used across the family’s commercial suckler herd, and with a background in wholesale butchery James is impressed with how Partenaise sired prime cattle can kill out.

And James says, with the meat known for its tender qualities and being low in cholesterol, there is growing demand for Parthenaise sired beef in a number of restaurants, which are now supplied by the Duerdens.

The judges said about James: James demonstrates a clear vision and has spread the risk with more than one string to his business, in terms of the pedigree livestock, genetics and direct beef sales. He is focusing on all three aspects of the business and by doing this is looking at different elements of the supply chain from conception to consumption. He is also clear in how he is developing each of these aspects of the business.

On winning, James said: “I am absolutely elated to have received this honour. Innovation is so important for the future of beef especially going forwards. It has massive potential for growth both in the UK and overseas. We are proud to be producing healthy, nutritional beef and will carry on taking our business forward.”