We have an established herd of 10 Dexter cows which each produce a calf every year. The Dexter is considered a rare breed that has traditionally been used for beef and milk, however we only use them for beef.
The breed originates from Ireland and hold the record as being the smallest. They thrive on the 100% grass-fed diet we provide and are able to withstand the sometimes harsh Northumberland climate.
They’re also fairly docile animals and easy to manage thanks to their willingness to do anything for a treat, whether that’s a handful of fresh silage or sometimes a carrot!
Dexters are also excellent mothers and typically calve with no assistance, which suits our more natural system of rearing.
The cows spend most of the year grazing our fields, but as the rain and cold temperatures arrive over winter we provide them with cover and shelter. They still have access to the outdoors though so they’re able to choose whatever suits them.
Dexters beef is wonderfully marbled meat. The marbling is fat that dissolves away when the meat is cooked, but enhances the flavour you experience.
We started the herd with pedigree Dexters but over the years have experimented with different breeds of bull to see what effects, if any, there would be on the eating quality of the beef. We now typically use a young Aberdeen Angus bull producing “Dangus” meat which has the wonderful marbling of the Dexter with the great flavour and sizes of cuts seen in the Angus.