The Essex Grazing Project, which provides heritage grazing to over 200 hectares of Essex countryside, is celebrating the birth of 24 new calves into its herd of pedigree Red Poll cattle.
Born from mid-January the calves will initially be reared within their winter housing before joining the herd at a number of sites across Essex that use heritage grazing as a way of conserving and naturally managing scarce landscapes, nature reserves and open spaces.
The Red Poll cattle are a traditional breed native to East Anglia and are ideally suited to grazing sites as they are docile, lighter than most commercial cow breeds and happily forage on the wild grasses and herbs found in the Essex countryside. Within the new arrivals there are 12 heifer (female) calves and 12 bull (male) calves taking the number of cattle within the Grazing Project to more than 100.
Once the calves reach 30 months old some will be sold to local butchers where those buying their meat know they have made a conscious decision to buy an ethical product that has been sustainably reared and has a low carbon footprint.
Essex County Councillor Kay Twitchen, Deputy Cabinet Member for Planning and Environment said: “The Essex Grazing Project is a real success story that puts traditional practices back at the heart of preserving the local countryside. The sale of the meat generates income which not only protects our Essex wildlife but helps to fund an apprenticeship programme to teach the younger generation animal husbandry skills.”
The Essex Grazing project is keen to hear from landowners who are interested in the benefits of this natural approach to land management. Run as a commercial venture any income generated is reinvested back into the project with any surplus used to support nature conservation projects aimed at conserving species-rich grassland within Essex.