FINALIST FOR BEEF INNOVATOR
OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by: ABP Food Group
John and Pat Stanley
Spring Barrow Lodge Farm, J.W. & P.A. Stanley & Son, Leicestershire
Despite almost getting into the Longhorn breed by accident, John and Pat Stanley are now running an international genetics company with semen from their bulls in high demand.
Previously the couple had run a dairy herd alongside the farm’s arable enterprise, but in the late 1980s Pat decided she wanted to establish her own herd of Longhorns, a breed she was attracted to due to their temperament and meat producing qualities.
Then in 2005 the dairy herd was sold and the Stanleys have been concentrating their efforts on refining their herd through ruthless selection in terms of conformation and appearance, with emphasis placed on getting the female lines right. The Blackbrook herd now comprises 50 breeding females and six bulls.
Now the export of semen provides a vital part of the business and they Stanleys say for every semen straw sold in the UK, they have sold 20 abroad. Semen is sold worldwide into Europe, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Canada.
While there is limited demand for Longhorn AI from domestic producers, the Stanleys do retain the best bulls to sell for breeding each year.
Bulls not suitable for breeding are kept entire and finished inside at 15 months and 600kg liveweight, or are castrated and reared extensively on a mainly grass diet and killed at 30 months.
Heifers not retained as replacements are finished at between 20 and 24 months.
The couple’s youngest son, Joe is responsible for the 344 hectares (850 acres) of arable land across the farm and a rotation of winter wheat and barley with oilseed rape means there is ample straw for the livestock housing, with the manure being returned to the land.
John has developed an additional diversification, linked inextricably with the couple’s passion for the Longhorn breed. He specialises in English animal paintings and has converted an old calf shed into a gallery, with pictures also exported around the world.