South Ormsby Estate gets all beefed up to save rare breed

Lincoln Red cattle at the South Ormsby Estate.
Lincoln Red cattle at the South Ormsby Estate.

Sustainable farming practices in the heart of the Lincolnshire Wolds are helping the original population of one of the UK’s oldest breeds of beef cattle recover.

Lincoln Red cattle date back to the late 18th century and the breed’s genetic base can be traced back to cattle introduced by the Viking invaders in 440 - 660 AD.

Although they were Britain’s second largest breed of pedigree beef cattle in the 1920s, their numbers dropped after European breeds became popular in the 1970s.

While many farmers found success after combining the qualities of the original Lincoln Red breed with other cattle from Europe, the original Lincoln Red population continued to fall, with just several hundred remaining today.

Now, a Lincolnshire estate is helping this rare form of Lincoln Red cattle make a comeback so that future generations can enjoy the delicious beef 
and beautiful animals that form a key part of the country’s farming heritage.

Herd manager at Massingberd-Mundy Lincoln Red Beef, John Crutchley is responsible for one of the largest herds of the original population Lincoln Red cattle in the world, with each cow being 100% original population Lincoln Red.

John’s farm at the South Ormsby Estate now has 270 original population Lincoln Reds, a far cry from the 25 cattle that were on the estate at the turn of the millennium.

John said: “Lincoln Red cattle are a part of our history.

“They’re beautiful animals with vividly coloured, fluffy coats and people in Lincolnshire are rightly proud of them.

“Lincoln Reds are listed as vulnerable by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and the original population are even more rare.

“When I started breeding them, there was a real worry that they might die out altogether, but with modern, sustainable practices, we’re helping them to make a come back.

“I’m passionate about keeping this pure native population of the breed as they’re wonderful animals and have excellent qualities.”