The Iford Estate has a herd of about 350 suckler cows, which utilise the steeper and wetter parts of the farm which are not suitable for arable production. Many of these areas are within an SSSI, and thus very sensitive, and the cows are managed to allow the wild flowers and plants to flourish. We also graze the Castle Hill National Nature Reserve, and are working with Natural England to improve the rare chalk grassland through careful grazing at key points in the year.
All of the progeny of the suckler herd are fattened in Iford, using silage and cereals grown on the farm. The animals grow on grass, and are brought inside at about 18 months old to finish during the winter.
At any one time we have about 1000 head of cattle on the farm, and these are a mix of breeds. A proportion are traditional Sussex cattle, which are well suited to grazing the rough pastures on the South Downs, and hardy enough to leave outside for most of the year. The rest are a mixture of crosses between different breeds, but are selected both for their milk production, and their ability to calve easily, as well as producing a high quality carcass in their calf.