A PROJECT to re-establish a breed of cattle in Britain has had the seal of approval from the farmers who bred the animals.

Nick Weber and Geoff Roper, both NFU Dorset members, imported 10 Wessex Lowlines from the Big Island herd in Edmonton, Canada, in 2010.

Paul Gotaas, of Big Island, visited the farm run by Nick and Geoff in Stubhampton, Blandford Forum.

In five years the herd has grown from 10 to 100, and is the largest Wessex Lowlines herd in Europe.

Paul said: “It seems that in a very short time, Wessex Lowlines has successfully communicated the qualities of the breed to the UK and beyond.

“They are doing this through their belief in the breed, professional preparation and showing of the breed in various parts of the country. Quite a lot has been accomplished in a relatively short period of time.”

Since importing the nucleus of the herd, Nick and Geoff have sold cattle all over England and Wales and have exported animals to Northern and Southern Ireland. Their mission to champion the breed has been driven through agricultural shows and hosting farm visit. The next open day is on Sunday, October 4 from 10am to 3pm.

The farm’s manager, David Maughan, has also been announced as a finalist in the British Farming Awards’ beef innovator of the year category.

Geoff said: “Word is getting out about the qualities of the breed and we are seeing a good level of interest from farmers domestically and also in Europe.

“Our aim is to continue to show people why we believe the Lowline has a great future.”

In Canada, the breed has also experienced steady growth. Feed efficiency, calving ease and being able to finish on grass are what draws the most interest, according to Paul added that he hoped UK farmers would continue to open their minds up to the potential of the breed.

“The biggest challenge is to break through the mentality that big is necessarily better. As these cattle get out there into working farms people will see that the efficiency of the breed cannot be dismissed.”


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