Many of the animals that live at Baylham belong to breeds that are under threat and classified as rare. You can find out all about them on our Breed Information pages.
During the last century the fascinating variety of British livestock has been dwindling under the pressure of modern farming methods. Between 1900 and 1973 more than 20 breeds of British livestock became extinct. In the dairy sector – where there were once Old Gloucester, Dairy Shorthorn, Irish Moiled, Jersey and Guernsey to name a few – more than 90% of the national herd is now Holstein. Intensive piggeries are filled with Landrace and fast growing hybrids with numbers rather than names and the sheep sector relies heavily on the Suffolk, Beltex and Texel.
All of this is a result of market forces driving production costs down and leading to the concentration on breeds that grow quickly, can be slaughtered younger, and consequently cost less to feed. But this concentration on a limited number of breeds leads to a shrinking of genetic diversity, and this puts our food security at risk.
The breeds that we keep need to be conserved as they can make a valuable contribution to the livestock industry and to our quality of life. Some have characteristics that make them valuable in protection of the environment as conservation grazers. Nearly all have qualities that make them ideally suited to less intensive forms of agriculture, and all need to be conserved as an insurance policy against changing circumstances. You also only need to taste them to recognize what we would be losing.
If you are interested in purchasing some stock and would like some more information about what we have available or details of our training packages, please call us on 01473 830264 or send us a message.