FINALIST FOR BEEF INNOVATOR
OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by: ABP Food Group
Jonathan and Laura Chapman
Bailey Hill Farm, Native Beef, Buckinghamshire
New entrants Jonathan and Laura Chapman have built numbers up from six Red Devon cows in 2010, to a herd of 220 now run on 161 hectares (400 acres), with 20ha (50 acres) owned at Bailey Hill Farm, and the rest taken under various tenancies and grazing licences.
Jonathan, who has a background in equine eventing, and Laura who worked in London property investment shared a mutual interest in farming, and decided to embark on a beef business with meat now butchered on-farm and sold direct to customers via phone and email sales. They plan on developing online sales driven through their website over the next 12 months.
Meat is also supplied to a local farm shop and more recently meat from their cattle has been going to a restaurant in London.
The couple follow a pasture-fed system on a high intensity, short-term grazing rotation. They were keen to adopt this approach partly because of the flavour pasture-fed meat is renowned for, and also due to welfare an environmental issues. The end product is marketed as Pasture Fed For life certified native beef.
Paddocks are around 2-2.4ha (0.8-0.9 acres) with strategically sited corals between the blocks for easy movement and cattle management. Herbal grass leys are used extensively and growth rates can reach average of up to 1-1.3kg a day.
Cattle are finished at 20-30 months, weighing 580-680kg to meet marketing and selling demands which require a supply of beef all year round.
An on-farm butchery was installed earlier this year, which they hope will enable us to serve a more varied market and create a greater range of value added products such as
Marketing takes place via social media outlets, local advertising and local food fairs.