For many years the family have been involved in agriculture and farming at Birdsall and in the past have bred working horses, pigs, poultry, dairy and beef cattle. The areas now farmed include heavy clay soils on the low ground, Wold escarpment and dale sides with large arable fields on the well-drained but shallow flint and chalk Wolds.
We are involved in various environmental schemes as well as maintaining about 800 acres of woodland. We aim to allow a balance of nature to exist here. This does include the control the vermin to protect song bird populations, young trees and growing crops.
Various local interest groups regularly visit to look at anything from the rare bats to the wild plants. One quarry hole, for example, contains 114 species of wild flowers and plants and we have four sites of special scientific interest (SSSI), one of which is a nature reserve.
Large areas of grassland receive little or no fertiliser and we run single suckler beef cattle and their offspring on the permanent pastures and ensile grass farm arable areas for winter feeding. The Birdsall arable crops include wheat, barley, vining peas and oil seed rape. Areas are also let for the growing of seed potatoes.
Our mixed arable and livestock regime requires skilled employees and we also employ a mechanic, woodmen and vermin controllers. We are virtually self-contained in owning most of our own machinery, and dry and store our harvest in a controlled environment.
In addition to the family farming operations, we have a let farm portfolio of farm holdings. Some of these have been occupied by the same family for generations and are all independent separate businesses.
Birdsall Estate was involved with starting up and developing the Stabiliser Beef Cattle programme in the UK. This programme was started in 1996 by five significant beef producers based in East Yorkshire in response to their requirement to develop an improved suckler cow type to replace their less efficient dairy-bred cows. The focus of the breeding programme is to improve the economic efficiency of suckler cows and the production of consistently high eating quality beef for least cost from forage-based systems.
Following detailed research the programme introduced bovine genetics from the USA where there is much recording to find the most efficient lines that deliver a range of cost saving advantages to breeding and maintaining the herd, whilst adding value by improving the economic production of high eating quality beef. One trait of Stabiliser Cattle is that they convert feed much more efficiently than other breeds, therefore producing less methane (a greenhouse gas and a major contributor to global warming) and of course requiring less of our grass based feeding to convert into protein.
The current breeding programme is based on the Leachman Stabiliser, this is a composite breed made up of 5/8 British breeds and 3/8 Continental maternal breeds and it offers some of the most cost effective suckler cow economics available. The company is now a UK leader in beef genetics producing Stabiliser™ dam line breeding stock.
For further information about Stabiliser Cattle, please visit their website.