The Northwest Stabiliser™ Project has rescheduled its open
day at Kitcrag, Selside, Kendal for Saturday 22 September 1pm,
following Defra’s announcement to relax movement restrictions
outside the Surveillance Zone.
Cows with embryo Stabiliser calves
Visitors will have the opportunity to discuss with the Dixon brothers,
James, Andrew and Richard how the Stabiliser is playing a key role
within their suckler herd to improve overall performance and reduce
Kitcrag Farm, an 180 hectare unit, lies at 600 feet above sea
level in the hamlet of Selside, near Kendal. Land is all in the
less favoured area with 80 pc of it severely disadvantaged, rising
to 1,300 ft above sea level.
An adjoining 175 hectare farm, Yoad Pot, is also part of the family
business run by brothers James, Andrew and Richard Dixon. James’ son
Stephen also works on the farm.
The farm carries 300 Swale dale and 250 Mule ewes, with a small
flock of Leicester sheep. A new 12,000 bird free range poultry
unit has been established at the farm after ceasing milk production
Following visits to Givendale, Yorkshire, and the Lilburn Estate
near Wooler by Dixon family members, it was felt that the Stabiliser
breed offered them the way ahead by enabling them to run a low
cost, easy care suckler enterprise, breeding their own replacements
into a closed herd. The aim is to build up cow numbers to
120-plus Stabilisers, which the family is well on its way to doing.
Grading up process
Grading up since 2004, when their first Stabiliser bull was bought
from the Geldard family in April of that year. Bought in 40 Limousin
cross heifers in 2004 to put to this bull also bought in around
65 young calves, mainly Limousin cross with some Saler cross.
Continued with grading up process with bought in heifers, also
put in 10 Stabiliser embryos in the remaining original dairy
Four pure bred Stabiliser bull calves and one pure bred heifer
born from embryo transfer, and more embryo transfer work done
in order to create a foundation herd of pure bred Stabiliser.
Eight embryo calves born, seven heifers and one bull. Present stocking
numbers have reached over 100 sucklers, of which 50 will be heifers
calved this summer. 15 Stabiliser embryos have been put in this
for the Northwest Stabiliser Project
The Stabiliser: the modern functional suckler cow
Winter Oilseed Rape Margins Stack Up