30 cattle are now grazing on the very top of Butser Hill. They have been on site since the start of July and are slowly working their way from compartment to compartment to help keep the important chalk grassland in favourable condition.

whereas the sheep will graze the sward very close, the cattle are better at browsing the shrubs, tree saplings and the longer coarse grasses. The cattle will between then consume over 1 tonne of forage each and every day.

Due to the rough nature of the grazing, particularly all the thorn bushes, the cattle do not have traditional ear tags as these can be easily torn out. Instead the tag, which must be carried by all beef animals to comply with DEFRA regulations, is attached through the loose skin on the dewlap.

A month ago there were 65 cattle and 400 plus sheep and lambs all grazing on the hill. However as we move towards the end of the year with its poor weather and low quality grazing the younger cattle have moved elsewhere and the bigger lambs gone to market.

The livestock are all managed under a 5 year farm business tenancy by a family owned company called Rother Valley Organics which is based up the road in Rogate. The land and livestock are all registered as organic and the area is also designated as a National Nature Reserve.

The cattle are either pure or cross-bred Aberdeen Angus which are reared until they are 30-36 months old. When they are ready they are processed by the company’s own butchers.

Rother Valley have some 600 cattle which are managed as a closed herd, where all female breeding stock are home reared and the bulls are brought in having been carefully tested.

Beef, lamb and mutton are available from the Rother Valley web-site at www.rothervalleyorganics.com

A limited range can also be found in the Park’s shop together with venison, pheasant, wild boar and other game.

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