Head stockman Jon Smith looks after 350 head of suckler cattle, plus their offspring, and a small flock of sheep. The cattle are South Devon crosses and recently a Charolais bull has been bought in to introduce this gene into the herd. Calves produced are supplied to the local butcher and also Holkham’s cafés and The Victoria Inn. The cattle graze land which is unsuitable for farming as well as grazing the Holkham National Nature Reserve. During winter they are brought in and housed in a modern, well-equipped unit with a state-of-the-art cattle handling facility. The handling system provides significant labour saving, such as being able to weigh and handle animals easily and safely means that much more attention can be given to health and management issues.
In addition, a flock of sheep is used as a grazing tool around the park, notably in the public areas and the shearing produces a moderate income.Over the winter period up to 1500 store lambs are purchased from Bakewell Market in Derbyshire and are used to graze cover crops within the arable rotation.
Holkham’s Herd of Belted Galloway Cattle
On 10th November 2013, a herd of 21 Belted Galloway cattle arrived on the farm. These distinctive breed of cattle are hardy and adaptable to a wide range of conditions, producing good quality meat and with a proven value for both conservation and commercial use.
April 2014 - Exciting news! The latest additions to our Belted Galloway herd have been born. The first calf was born on Friday 4th April, a heifer, and the second a bull calf was born on Sunday 6th April. Jon Smith, our Herd Manager, says that the “belties” are very protective mothers and that calving has been relatively easy.
July 2015 - The Royal Norfolk Show - Jon Smith got a ‘First’ at the county’s Norfolk Show under the ‘Any Other Native Breed’ category with his Belted Galloway and calf at foot.