The first flock of sheep to be owned by Bradford Estates in ‘living memory’ has started to graze estates’ land on the Shropshire and Staffordshire borders.
A new joint venture, Bradford Sheep, has been set up with an initial investment of 300 New Zealand Romneys as the next step of the landed estates business’ journey into sustainable farming.
This new business has been conceived as a further expansion into the business to business (B2B) arena for Bradford Estates, alongside the Bradford Green wildflower seeds enterprise, with plans to sell branded lamb to pubs and local farm shops.
Farms Director Oliver Scott said Bradford Estates had introduced sheep as part of its 100-year plan to shape its future around regenerative practices. He said: “By using livestock to fertilise the soil with their manures, our eventual aim of being a closed fertility farm without imported fertiliser is on course to becoming a reality.
“We are effectively returning to the mixed farming system of our forebears, where livestock work within the overall crop strategy, grazing and foraging on feed crops set aside for them.
“The long-term vision is to market Bradford Sheep lamb produce both locally and eventually in supermarkets once we grow our herd into four figures.”
Partner Alec Hough, whose family farm is in nearby Marston, Wheaton Aston, is managing the flock on behalf of the landed estates business.
He said: “Bradford Estates identified an opportunity to introduce sheep and approached me with the exciting prospect of adding the first in hand flock in living memory to the estates.
“I was attracted not only by the exciting business opportunity, but also the regenerative principles of outside rearing, extensive grazing and minimising use of inoculations. We look forward to seeing the progress we have made when the lambing season begins next spring.”
Landed estates business, Bradford Estates, is responsible for managing 12,000 acres on the Shropshire and Staffordshire borders. Working to its 100-year plan, Bradford Estates practices sustainable land management as a way of delivering a legacy for future generations.