Angus and Joy Cottey started their herd of Devon Red Ruby Cattle in 1995, the first two animals were a wedding present from the Halsbury Herd. A few purchases were made from the West Hele, Hackpen, and Woodscombe herds with a couple of commercial bulling heifers. This was the foundation of the Garradon herd.
For the formative years pure bred pedigree bulls were hired in from Forde Abbey, Bywood and Brightley, a truly impressive range of sire to start a foundation stock for any beef herd.
From the start Angus and Joy were assisted by Angus’ parents who had a lifetime of cattle stockman ship behind them. It was thanks to them that Angus and Joy were able to keep the animals on their land at Gerrydown Farm, Winkleigh – hence the pedigree name of Garradon. The oldest known spelling of the farm name. Angus and Joy also had full time occupations, Angus is a Police Officer and Joy is a Midwife, and keeping the animals at Gerrydown allowed some flexibility in their management.
From the start it was decided to keep a closed herd, breeding our own replacement females from bulls purchased from reputable breeders of the highest quality. They also bred their own bulls which have been successfully sold, Garradon Larry out of West Hele lily, by Brightley Footprint 64 th. Garradon Larry was sold to the Dart Brothers who run the Champson herd at Molland. From the sale of Larry, Cutcombe Jaunty was purchased from Mrs Grania Phillips. A truly outstanding bull for conformation, temperament and an ability to pass on to his offspring his characteristics. Jaunty was bred by Mrs Margaret Elliot at Brompton Regis, Somerset.
Cutcombe Jaunty having served successfully for three seasons, had to be moved on, but Angus and Joy recognised an outstanding Bull in Jaunty and took semen from him. It is their intention to export this to New Zealand and Australia. Jaunty ranks as within the top 10% of his breed, based upon signet figures (follow the link to semen sales to find out more)
One of the problems that faced the herd, and its future, was that it was kept on a grass keep basis. There was no room for the use of concentrates to improve performance. The herd had to be healthy, live off grass and show a profit. Silage and hay were fed in the autumn and winter. Cattle are weaned at 9-10 months of age and under some sufferance are brought indoors for the winter, the rest of the stock are out wintered.
The bull is put in with the stock on the 10 th June each year . (The Wedding Anniversary!) which produces a nice tight spring calving from 20 th March to end of April the following year. The aim is to calve outside where the mother and calve can go straight onto lush spring grass.
The herd has been Brucella tested negative and TB tested each year, also negative. The herd has not had any cases of BSE and escaped culling through foot and mouth in 2001, mainly due to very stringent bio security measures.
In February 2002 Angus and Joy purchased their own farm, Little Dart Raffe, at Witheridge, Devon. The area is mentioned in the Doomsday book of 1066, and is situated at over 600 feet above sea level. Tributaries of the little Dart River spring from the farm. The farm is unique in that it has 3 bronze age barrows all in a line. these were constructed some 3500 to 4500 BC, which is reassuring to know that man was farming the area all that time ago.
Angus and Joy have built up their herd to produce beef for a niche market, which they direct sell to the public (follow the link to beef sales to find out more) in boxes of 10 and 20kg. the beef is reared in a traditional manner and is of premium quality
The following are some links to web sites that for one reason or another have a connection to us and our farm: