Organic beef, lamb and wool are produced from a 100% grass based grazing system. Permanent pastures of herb rich mixtures produce naturally reared animals of high eating quality. The farm operates to organic principles, serving mainly local, premium markets.
The Romney Flock
Montague runs a closed flock of just under a thousand pure Romney ewes. Selection of home born stock has generated sheep resilient to the many biological and physical challenges of the enriched landscape as well as protecting from outside diseases. Ewes are a strong traditional type of Romney but have recently been pepped up from imported New Zealand genetics from the famed Wairere stud. A good balance of physique, hardy performance has been achieved.
Living all year round on the grassland, lambs are born outside in early spring. Ewes are left to look after themselves, ease of lambing being achieved through the breeding policy, the careful husbanding of the grazing and natural shelter of the fields where they give birth. Lambs are up and away quickly, free from interference and getting a good start at this vulnerable period. By the end of lambing there are nearly 2500 sheep to be catered for.
Lambs fatten naturally from a grass only diet, achieving high quality carcasses popular with our butcher customers. Half the lambs will be pure Romney, the other half being sired by Charollais rams. Differing growth rates between the types enable the farm to supply lambs all year round.
Complimentary to managing the great flock Montague also has a Beef suckler herd. Some 65 cows are carefully cross bred using glossy red Sussex bulls, mixed in alternate years with either docile continental Simmentals or sleek black Aberdeen Angus bulls. The cows live in extensive cattle sheds in the winter, fed home produced hay and haylage, producing calves in the early spring before being turned onto the remoter parts of the marsh for the summer. There they graze in a pattern designed to accentuate wildlife habitats as well as leave nibbled off pastures where the sheep can later find a living from the shortened swards. Nearly 200 head of cattle are kept through the summer.
Heifers not kept for breeding are sold fat, typically around 20 months, while their brothers, steers, may be kept to fatten or else sold to other farmers with richer food to put in front of them. Their hybrid vigour and natural grass diet assures cattle of high quality, fit for the premium customers.