Spring Turn out! Castle Farm Cattle graze the water meadows
The most joyous time of year for the cattle is when they get their first taste of lush spring grass! Our stock manager starts to put cattle back out to grass as soon as the grass has started to grow and the ground underfoot is dry enough. It is a totally weather dependant procedure so each Spring can vary greatly. Remember the Beast From The East? Our cattle were very happy to be comfortable be sheltered indoors with food and water rather than out in those conditions!
Each field will become ready in turn, and this year – due to the extraordinarily wet winter, our water meadows have been the last fields to be cattle-ready!
However, in a normal Spring, the grass starts growing once the soil temperature hits about 4 degrees celsius. This time of year the grass is growing so quickly that a square meter is producing 2-4kg of grass every day! Imagine having to keep mowing that!
It’s important that the ground is dry enough for the cattle because they are heavy animals and can damage the soil structure and soil health if they trample it when it is wet. This is called “poaching” the soil and is very undesirable for subsequent grass growth.
The grass needs plenty of sun and rain to keep it growing so a bit of “bad” weather is sometimes very good for grass.
This year our cattle were out in the water meadows last week, and were gleefully galloping around before getting their heads down to do some serious eating! Cattle usually eat a lot of grass at once and then lie down to “chew the cud”. They actually regurgitate the grass to chew it a second time which helps them to digest it. If you see them all lying together chewing it’s a great sign that they are happy and healthy with full bellies!
Our cattle are native bred and cross bred (Sussex and Sussex x Limousin for example). They thrive on good grazing, developing their frame and putting on weight more slowly. This improves fat marbling and flavour in the beef. The right amount of fat on a carcass is essential for flavour but also to protect the meat from drying out during the hanging process. Our expert stock manager has nearly 40 years experience and selects the animals at just the right stage of maturity.
Our Castle Farm Beef is hung for 3 weeks and then its is cut by expert butchers and vacuum sealed before freezing which keeps it in the perfect condition for cooking.
Once the shop opens again you can come and try our beef – we have beef burgers and steaks which are great for barbecuing, larger topside joints and ribs for roasting and braising steak and mince for making casseroles and stews. The flavour is so good, once you’ve tried it you will come back for more!
Grass fed beef is a healthier option too! The meat of grass fed cattle is higher in Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) which is a unique form of omega-6 fatty acid. The cholesterol content of grass fed beef is also lower, which is better for heart health.