Ron – who farms Angus, Commercial and Hereford cattle in the picturesque coastal setting of Whitby, is one of Dovecote Park’s longest serving producers, having supplied us directly since 1998. Situated by the sea with a magnificent coastal view, Ron’s farm has expanded significantly since he took tenancy in the 1970’s and has seen a great number of changes, not least the rise in popularity of Aberdeen Angus cattle as a beef breed.
'The beauty of the Angus’ states Ron, ‘is that they are what they are – a native animal that’s got lasting ability. I think people have realised that the Angus can compete with any other breed, once you learn how to crack the system of running them on a forage based diet. It’s a lot cheaper to feed an animal on grass than it is to feed it on cereals all the time. But it is a longer term job.’
Farming is deeply ingrained in Ron’s blood – his family have farmed cattle for three generations, initially focusing on dairy cattle on the family homestead just a few miles up the road.
‘I've never moved far in my life’’ he laughs. ‘Dairy cattle were my forte when I was younger, we started off with milk, ‘ he recalls, ‘but when the bulk milk deal came in, it wasn't ideal with this road so I went into beef. And we were struggling a bit with beef, in the markets and things, so when the opportunity came up to join Dovecote, its made all the difference in the world.’
From Ron’s perspective, drawing on over thirty years of experience, rearing beef cattle successfully is a matter of good husbandry first and foremost.
'I think husbandry has got to come top, because if you aren't right with that, your cattle aren't doing right and if the cattle aren't right, then you aren't making any money. So I think husbandry has got to be the main focus, without a doubt.’
Speaking of his nearly two decade business relationship with Dovecote Park, Ron states:
‘Once we started with Dovecote, it really changed, a new system evolved really, like a partnership. The company became involved with the farmer, and we became closer together with each other’s needs, and its just got better and better. I think loyalty’s a marvellous thing – and if a firm is good to you, you stick with them. With Dovecote you have a voice, and it’s a partnership.’