Dovecote Park producers featured as Beef Farmer of the Year finalists

We are delighted to announce that two producers who supply cattle to Dovecote Park have been named as finalists in the upcoming Farmers Weekly Beef Farmer of the Year award, to be announced in London on October 6th. 

Dovecote Park are delighted to see not just one but two of our producers among the three finalists for Farmers Weekly Beef Farmer of the Year.  

Peter Brown, a mixed farmer who provides cattle for our Aberdeen Angus and British schemes, has farmed in Oxfordshire at the family holding of his wife Jane for more than 25 years, and has supplied cattle to Dovecote Park since 2006. Having taken over the 93 hectare spread of ancient parkland, Peter chose to switch over from the Hereford cross Friesians cows that formed the suckler herd the family originally farmed, owing to the health risks associated with buying in replacements.

Peter attributes his success in part, to his use of a specific three way cross suckler animal, bred by crossing pure Sussex cows with a Simmental bull to produce a high health, closed herd, which are then crossed to an Aberdeen Angus bull to produce finished cattle for Dovecote Park.

 The resulting cattle draw benefit from the three breeds, resulting in a docile and good sized animal which are easy calving. The judging panel has commended Peter for his ‘excellent integration of farm enterprises’ and the merits of his breeding programme, selecting heifers based on weight and conformation to ensure they are able to calve at two and maximise production.

Peter has worked closely with Dovecote Park for a number of years, and has kindly hosted a few events for us on his farm and welcomed members of the Waitrose team for farm visits.  He was awarded the Waitrose Farming Partnership Award for Future Proofing in 2013.

Doug Dere is an arable and beef farmer, who contract finishes cattle not far from our Stapleton site in North Yorkshire. Whilst we can’t officially claim Doug as a one of ours, we can by association!  He runs a contract finishing operation, where two of our suckler breeder producers who farm in the West of the country send their stores to his finishing unit.

  Doug finishes them on a cost share basis whilst the breeders retain ownership, allowing them to concentrate on the breeding and growing.  Doug owns a 340 hectare spread, renting or contracting a further 80 hectares, he grows wheat, barley, sugar beet and oilseed rape. Cattle typically arrive at Doug’s holding at seven months of age, with some older animals taken in for a swifter, 90 day finish.

He has been praised by the judging panel for his excellent customer relations, providing regular feedback to cattle owners, as well as his ‘outstanding health protocol’, and his use of technology to benchmark performance.  

We would like to congratulate both Peter and Doug on these highly prestigious nominations. The winners of the Farmers Weekly will be announced at the Farmers Weekly Awards Night in London on October 6th - we will keep our fingers crossed!