by Lillie Elliott
George Burrell farms in North Northumberland just outside Alnwick. As a family-run farm, they have been farming on the same land for generations. George, his brother Toby and his mother Anneli farm the land.
Tell us more about your herd?
We run a pedigree herd of Aberdeen Angus here, which my father introduced in 1997. My brother and I are now the next generation, we farm the land together and we take the farm forward every day on a pasture-fed system, a regenerative system, grazing the animals all year round.
The benefits of a pasture-fed system for farmers is that it is the cheapest feed system. It is the best feed for our cows because they have evolved to this diet over 1000’s of years.
We plant herbal leys (complex seed mixture of grasses, legumes and herbs) for grazing the herd and it is important for us to check them every day. When it is wet the cattle can damage the grass so we would look to move them to a new area. It is also important to check the health of the cattle each day.
Going into the future, we look to increase the stocking rate on the farm through mob grazing and better-planned grazing – we also hope to introduce the Hereford Cattle breed to have two breeds of cattle on the farm so that we can increase hybrid vigour on the farm through crossing cattle and also offer that benefit to breeding customers.
How do you innovate on your farm?
Innovation and sustainability are crucial going into the future, just to benefit the farm economically and the environment that surrounds the farm. We aim to make the farm more sustainable by cutting out nitrogens and other inorganic fertilizers by better managing the soil. Cutting out synthetic fertilisers is a good business decision because the price can be volatile. Each year the price varies greatly so you cannot budget for it.
What is it like farming with your family?
Farming with my brother is great, we have grown up here and both have a passion for the place. We communicate very well with each other to achieve the business objectives and take the farm forwards. Farming can be an extremely stressful environment so it is vital that we work well as a team.
How do your boots suit your role?
The animals graze outside 365 days of the year and the weather can vary hugely. We need gear that can match the elements – tough footwear and strong outer layers that keep us dry. We have a real passion for the area, the farm and the animals involved in it and that’s why every day getting up and working on it for us is very easy.