Alex & Gemma Sell

Alex & Gemma Sell

The SELLSTEAD Herd

Marsh Farm is located near Basildon in Essex. The cattle are grazed on the Essex marshes and Wallasea Island. The marshes are all RSPB and Essex wildlife Trust land and the South Devons are integral to the management of the land for birds and other wildlife.

Family with cows in field

Farm Facts

  • Grazing 1850 acres of marsh land, mostly tenanted
  • Over 150 head suckler herd predominantly South Devons
  • Aim to expand to 200 spring calving South Devon sucklers
  • Use South Devon, Salers and Limousin bulls
  • Progeny sold as suckled calves at 6-8 months
  • Large arable and contracting business, plus an anaerobic digester on the farm

Performance

  • No creep feed and cows provided no supplementary feed
  • Progeny are sold at Ashford Market and usually top the market!
  • In 2023 the Sell’s achieved the following at 6-8 months:
    • Heifers averaged £822.23 / head
    • Steers averaged £860 / head
  • In 2024 the cull cows averaged £1442.50 with an average weight of 790kg

Management

  • Spring & autumn calving herds
  • Extensive grazing of marsh land for 9-10 months of the year
  • The land is managed for the wildlife and is of poor grazing quality but the South Devons thrive on it with no supplementary feeding
  • 2 or 3 winter months the herd is housed on straw and fed grass silage
  • No concentrates are fed
  • Calves tag & tested for BVD. Empty cows screened for Lepto, IBR, Johnes and Neospora

Testimony

“When we started the herd we wanted a hardy suckler cow that would convert the marsh grasses that we have into a well grown suckled calf without any supplementary feeding, without much intervention at calving and easy to work with.

The South Devon ticked all the boxes.”