Breeder of pure-bred Sussex cattle targets new markets

A Sussex cattle breeder is looking to capitalise on the growing market for grass-fed beef “with a difference”, launching a new online service for his traditional, well-matured meat.

William De La Warr runs a herd of more than 90 pure-bred Sussex breeding cows at Buckhurst Park near Withyham, East Sussex – animals that have never been crossed with other breeds and is claimed to be the largest “traditional” herd in the country.

See also: Farmer Club aims to safeguard purebred Sussex lines

“The traditional Sussex breed isn’t currently recognised by the Rare Breed Survival Trust, but we think there are well under 200 traditional breeding cattle left,” said Lord De La Warr, whose animals are recognised by the Sussex Cattle Society and include a capital “T” after their tag number.

“We’ve worked hard to promote the pure Sussex line and are proud to have animals with a reputation for producing a flavoursome and quality meat.”

After slaughter and hanging on the bone, the beef is divided into cuts, vacuum-packed and frozen, prior to being sent out by courier to online customers.

“Many people, myself included, believe frozen beef is more tender than fresh beef, so whenever I eat my own beef it’s always been deep frozen,” said Lord De La Warr.

The commercial initiative has been applauded by land agent Jonathan Morris of CLM, who advises the Buckhurst Estate.

“With ever more focus on grass-fed, native breeds, the Sussex makes commercial as well as environmental sense,” he said.

“As subsidies for direct agricultural production fall, farmers need to find new, market-focused ways to generate revenue – and dealing with customers direct is a way of adding value.”