Our latest member profile comes from Eric and Michelle Heard of the Cheristow Salers.
I live in Hartland, a beautiful part of North Devon, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. I have lived there all my life and would not wish to live anywhere else.
My wife and I have been keeping traditional Devon cattle since 2008, and for the past 6 years we have been showing them at the local shows, with the help of professional showman Barnaby Bridgman and students from Duchy College who come to us to learn how to show cattle.
It was during one of these outings to the Royal Cornwall show that we came across the stand for Salers. My eyes were drawn to their slick lines, fantastic black hooves, and their constant alertness. I discretely picked up a brochure and took it back home to have a good look! What if I could combine the fantastic traits of my beautiful Devons, with the good mothering qualities and tremendous live weight growth potential of the Salers?
I started with AI purchasing some Bacardi Herbie and Cumbrian Royal semen. The results were amazing, with our Devon/Salers X heifers producing excellent progeny, and thus I started my search for some pure Salers heifers. Geoff and Olwen from Parkfield Salers were the perfect fit with our enterprise as we are both keen on the polled line.
Parkfield Livinstone and two heifers joined our herd in December 2018, and in the spring of this year we have had our first crop of Salers X Devons from him. The calves are thriving, and I am thrilled. In December 2019 we bought a further batch of 6 heifers from Geoff and another bull called Olympus. Livingstone and Olympus will serve most of our Devon cows this year, and our stock Devon bull, Poldark will serve the Salers.
Last year we took along a pair of Geoff’s heifers to some of the local day shows. They behaved very well, and from memory we were lucky enough to get reserve champion at a couple of shows. We have two polled bull calves that we will probably take to the shows in 2021.
My aim is to have a small Devon herd, and a small Salers herd, and sell the progeny as stores when they are 18 months old. I am 70 next year, and would like to take things a little easier, and keep a maximum of 60 sucklers.
I farm about 200 acres, half of it rented. I have been growing herbal leys for several years, and now my land is divided into paddocks. The cattle graze on lush pasture with daily moves. They love eating the chicory, dandelions, birds foot trefoil, and plantain.
Cheristow Lavender, Higher Cheristow, Hartland, EX39 6DA