BEEF, ARABLE & CONTRACTING, CAMBRIDGESHIRE: Farming around 450 acres (182 hectares) of arable land and permanent pasture, Sarah runs a mixed arable, beef and contracting enterprise on a number of Farm Business Tenancies.
She buys in about 30 calves every autumn. They are a crossbreed of British Blue/Simmental/Limousin cattle, aged two to three weeks old. Sarah rears them on teat feeders (milk is put in these for calves to suck from), straw and a calf feed mix until they are 10 weeks old. Then they are weaned off the milk and moved to bigger pens.
The calves are put out to grass in the spring and brought into the shed in late October/early November when it gets cold and wet. They are then either sold to another local farm to grow on or kept on to build up the herd.
On the arable side, the couple grow winter and spring wheat, winter barley, maize, beans and linseed. They also grow grass before maize to maximise output from the land. The have previously grown oilseed rape but find pigeons are a real problem in the area.
The contracting element (where other farmers pay them to undertake field work) is going from strength-to-strength. They spread a lot of digestate (fertiliser produced through anaerobic digestion) and have recently purchased a forage harvester (for cutting maize and grass for silage), but it will take time to build up a customer base for this.
Not having a farming background, Sarah was intimidated when looking at agricultural colleges, so studied adventure tourism in Fort William, where she met her husband while snowboarding.
He had worked on a farm since he was a teenager so together they bought a house and started renting a grass field, keeping sheep for a few years, before moving to cattle in 2015 as Sarah loved working with them.
The couple have slowly built up their acreage and are always looking for the next opportunity.
Sarah also worked in the agricultural chemical industry for six years, where she loved talking to different farmers every day. On the farm she enjoys the feeling of achievement from the hard work, the happiness her children get from the farm, and working with the animals.
Educating people on the process of food production is important to Sarah. She believes that farmers have the opportunity to educate the public on how they produce sustainable, environmentally beneficial and cost-effective food. She feels that people need to be more connected to their food and farmers can help spread that message.
Selling a range of home-designed, ethically produced farm branded clothing.
Member of the National Farmers Union.
Previous media experience
Interviewed for ITV’s Planet Child documentary.