Hepworth HerdRichard and Mary Brookes - Norfolk
We started our Red Poll herd in 2000 having double suckled three Simmental cows for two lactations. We realised that we could do the same job with a smaller cow which was cheaper to feed and more suited to our old buildings. We chose Red Polls as our local rare breed which would be easy to manage and have plenty of milk. This proved to be a good choice and we continued double suckling for several years until calves became too difficult to find with the disappearance of dairy herds, and I had sciatica for several months!
Our herd peaked at 18 cows a couple of years ago but is now being reduced to facilitate “retirement”. The breed are easy calving and wonderful mothers, and do very well on rented river meadows in the summer which are all in environmental schemes and receive no inputs. The cattle come in for the winter as the grazing floods, and they live on haylage and very little cake. Red Poll breeders and the Society are a very friendly and helpful bunch, and we have also enjoyed the camaraderie of showing our cattle.