Castletown Farm is a 5000 acre farm located between the Esk and the Eden in the heart of the Solway Estuary, selling 1400 finished beef cattle and 1850 salt marsh lambs a year.
We grow forages, cereals and maize for neighbouring dairy farms and our own livestock. 2,800 acres of the farm is made up of salt marsh, while the other 2,200 acres are low lying inland pastures, arable land, woodlands and a wonderful assortment of wildlife habits.
The cattle and sheep are looked after and managed by a team of experienced shepherds and stocks people as well as highly trained dogs. Lambing and calving takes place onsite, both in sheds and in the field.
We have a large variety of mostly native cattle breeds, including Galloway’s, Herefords, shorthorn, Aberdeen Angus and a few continental breeds.
We have recently introduced Wagyu cross breeds.
We also have Mule ewes crossed with Texel rams and keep the Texel cross females for our main flock. These are crossed with Texel and Charolais rams.
Beef is the largest enterprise on the farm. Alongside the suckler herd of native breed cows, we purchase a further 1,300 store cattle. Mostly bullocks, ages 12-24 months old, which we mainly graze on the salt marsh.
Finished cattle are sold to local retail and catering trade while the remainder are sold deadweight to Woodheads for Morrison’s supermarket, Scotbeef for M&S and others. The Shorthorns earn a premium from the Morrisons supermarket scheme.
They are housed during the winter and fed a total mixed ration of mostly home grown feeds. Purchased stores will be turned out March onwards then out to the Salt Marsh from mid May onwards.
The farm’s pastures are grazed year round and the Salt Marsh is carefully grazed during the summer months only. Around mid May the store cattle and sheep are released onto the marsh in a controlled operation due to the large amount of unfenced land, and graze there until late September, early October depending on the weather and tides.
The challenge of economically grazing 2800 acres of Salt Marsh, covered by the sea at high spring tides, to provide habitat for nesting waders and tens of thousands of wintering wildfowl, is a monumental undertaking. Well supported by Natural England, this internationally important wildlife jewel has been transformed from a debt laden, loss making, liability to a diverse and profitable business.