|Steadman and Judy
Dodd with Limousin stock bull Allanfauld Rumpus.
Eden Valley farmers Steadman and Judy Dodd produce
quality cattle and each week they regularly meet the specifications
required by the increasingly popular regional brand, Lakeland
The Dodds are passionate about their beef cattle and despite
the setbacks foot and mouth brought in 2001 they have re-established
their noted Redrock pedigree Limousin herd and they also use
their pedigree Limousin bulls across the herd of commercial
sucklers to produce top prime beef.
Over the last year virtually all their finished beef cattle
have sold for the Lakeland Beef brand which more and more
restaurants, hotels and pubs across the region are selling.
All the cattle finished on their 400-acre farm West View,
Temple Sowerby, near Penrith are sold through the ring at
Borderway Mart, Carlisle - the Dodds are firm supporters
of the auction system.
Lakeland Beef is a partnership between Pioneer Foodservice,
of Carlisle, which also has a depot in Gateshead, auctioneers
Harrison & Hetherington, whose mart at Borderway neighbours
Pioneer’s headquarters, and abattoir firm Rose County
Foods, of Sawley.
Harrison & Hetherington gives help and guidance over
the procurement of the beef of the required specification
from farm-assured producers in the CA and LA postcode areas
for the Lakeland label either through the ring or direct from
Pioneer takes ownership of the whole carcase which after
being at Rose County Foods is further processed by Pioneer.
The regional brand has been gradually gathering momentum
and has the backing of EBLEX (English Beef and Lamb Executive).
Restaurants and other catering establishments are readily
using the Lakeland brand on their menus. Guaranteeing the
provenance of the beef, Pioneer’s sales team gives the
names and addresses of producers and quantities of beef each
has supplied to the caterers.
“Because of what is happening in the marketplace globally
and the increasing demand for local produce, this is an important
time for farmers to be involved with regionally branded initiatives
like Lakeland Beef,” said Pioneer’s commercial
director Barry Garrett.
“Over the past 12 months virtually all our finished
cattle have been sold for Lakeland Beef - between three
and four a week,” said Steadman Dodd.
“We are very pleased with the price we receive and
an added bonus is we follow through our cattle and we know
how they have graded and their killing out percentages.”
Judy Dodd added: “We are great believers in local branding
of our food, particularly now with concerns over imported
meats. We must encourage people to buy as much locally-produced
food as possible to support local producers and processors
but also to have guarantees about its origins and standards
of rearing and finishing.
“Lakeland Beef is available now at many pubs and restaurants - we
regularly eat it and it lives up to its reputation.”
The Dodds have long been into quality beef production. They
established their Redrock Limousin herd 22 years ago and they
have re-built numbers up to 100 pedigrees since losing virtually
all their cattle to foot and mouth in 2001.
They now have home-bred heifers in the herd and during 2005,
50 cows calved in 2005.
Alongside the pedigree herd they run another herd of 100
commercial cows and heifers. Both herds calve all the year
round and most are sold with calves at foot.
As well as breeding their own herd replacements they have
built up a reputation for the heifers they sell at Borderway
with calves at foot by their own stock bulls, the females
being bought-in as bulling heifers.
They have sold up to £1,700 with a calf at foot, generally
aged around six weeks old.
Stock bulls are Allanfauld Rumpus, Redstone Storm, bought
back at nine months old, the French bred Sulkey and Redrock
Oboy who escaped foot and mouth as he was away from the farm,
Scorboro Ramrod and they have a half share in the French bull
Siagra with Threlkeld pedigree breeder George Hutton.
The Dodds have always believed in investing in the best they
can. “The best bullocks finish the easiest and they
need the least feed while plainer sorts not only take a lot
more finishing but they don’t make the same money per
kg,” said Steadman Dodd.
The Dodds finish between 150 and 200 cattle a year, buying-in
around half of those as 15 month old store cattle in local
Home-bred calves are weaned at nine months old and they are
introduced to a silage and maize diet including rolled barley.
“We keep the finishing period for home-bred and bought-in
cattle as short as possible - it takes three months - and
we finish three or four each week,” said Steadman Dodd.
“Previously we were keeping steers until 22 months
old to claim the second premium, but now with the Single Farm
Payment we are finishing them earlier and we are able to put
more through the system as a result,” he added.
The Dodds, who are helped in their farming operation by employee
Joe Harrison, also run a flock of 370 Texel cross Beltex ewes
which lamb from March 20, mainly to the Beltex. Most are finished
off grass and sold through the ring at Borderway Mart.
© Copyright 2005 Jennifer
MacKenzie All Rights