Mark and Sharon de Barr's Dynamic Herd of pedigree Dexter cattle is based near Upton Cross on the fringe of Bodmin Moor, Cornwall. The herd is managed using traditional, low input, methods that allow the cattle to live life as nature intended. The herd has an average of 30-40 cattle at any one time.
Dexter cattle originate from the south west of Ireland and are the smallest European cattle breed. Dexter beef is renowed for its quality and is sought after by top chefs.
From about April to October our cattle graze on grass and anything else they find tasty within our pastures. During the winter months they are provided with an ad lib supply of haylage and, unless ground conditions are particularly wet, they have the choice to be indoors or out. We do not feed cereals or other concentrates to speed production.
A study by Bristol University has shown that grass fed beef has more of the desirable omega-3 fatty acids and less of the undesirable omega-6 fatty acids than beef fed on cereals.
Our cattle develop slowly and naturally and are normally ready for slaughter around 2 ½ to 3 years old, having lived a longer and more natural life than cattle raised in more production oriented conditions.
Dexters are hardy cattle that require little assistance from us to remain fit and healthy.
We are members of the HiHealth Herdcare scheme and, in accordance with the terms of the scheme, we operate a closed herd and our cattle are routinely screened for a range of diseases including BVD and Johnes. The only medications we use on a routine basis are an annual wormer and a fly repellent during the summer.