Animal welfare is very important to us and our livestock spend as much time outdoors as possible. By maintaining high standards, we are proud to belong to the Red Tractor beef and lamb assurance scheme. To keep food miles down, we try to sell as much produce locally as we can and are passionate about producing delicious high welfare food.
Cattle arrive at Deane Farm between four and ten months of age from local markets and the high welfare organisation Blade Farming. Breeds include Holstein Friesian, Limousin, Charolais, South Devon and Blonde Aquitaine. The hardier types spend the summer months grazing our steep hillside pastures before coming into the barns for the autumn. They are fed a mixture of maize and grass silage with a high protein barley bean blend to ensure their growth requirements are met.
Our flock of 250 sheep are also a key part of the farming system with the flock providing an essential part of supporting soil health and nutrition. Lambing starts at Christmas and continues into the early spring with lambs sold in the autumn at local livestock markets or through Deane Valley Produce. A range of modern and traditional breeds such as North Country Mules and polled Dorset horns create a balance of hardiness and excellent eating quality.
Pigs are another important component of the Deane Farm system. The Gloucester Old Spots thrive on residues left after vegetables harvesting and cover crops, while their cosy ark homes protect them from the elements in the chillier months. We love selling our delicious pork to the local community and hope to grow numbers further to support our increasingly integrated mixed farming system.
We also keep chickens and sell eggs at a range of local outlets. Bird welfare and product quality are Deane Farm’s top priorities so our hens spend as much time outdoors as possible to ensure they lay delicious nutritious eggs.
Rotation and markets
The Deane Farm rotation includes wheat, barley, oats, maize, fodder beet, oilseed rape, beans and peas grown on a range of land types throughout the parish. As part of the Red Tractor farm assurance scheme, we are strongly focused on traceability and quality. Feed grain is sold to local mills to supplement the rations of grazing stock across Devon and further counties. Additionally, working with Agrii, we are proud to be multiplying up the seed crops for the grain farmers of next year and beyond.
To meet our increasingly regenerative aims, we are incorporating herbal leys and lucerne into our rotation. We hope to improve soil organic matter levels, increase fertility and reduce erosion risk. We are also increasing our use of low inversion tillage techniques where appropriate to preserve the soil organic matter. This creates a supportive environment for aerating earth worm populations and a rich soil biome of the microorganisms essential for good soil health and productivity.
As part of DEFRA’s environmental stewardship schemes, we have tailored our practices to ensure there is a year round feed supply available for wild birds. Measures to support rare species such as the Cirl Bunting include establishment of hedgerow margins, low input spring barley stubbles and tussock grass swards.