Why is our meat more expensive

Understand the difference

meadow at Nature Way Farm

Every time you buy something, you’re telling the farmer and the distributor what you want. You might be OK with farmers pumping cows full of grain. But if you want farmers to be responsible for the environment and you want them to improve it, you need to support and buy the produce from those who are farming sustainably.

Jeremy Beckman, our farmer

1. Time

Our farmers spend more time farming! Once or twice a day they move animals from one piece of pasture to another. They need to make a new daily enclosure and judge how much grazing should the animals get for the day (depending on the growth of grass and time of year). Every day, our farmers need to move the animals water to their new enclosure, which is not as simple as it may sound!

This means that every day, the farmer spends a lot of time managing animals in this regenerative way.

This contrasts with conventionally-reared animals that are not moved into a different paddock at all, staying in the same pasture the whole year, or are moved unregularly (every few months). Therefore, the farmer can just check over them and their fencing and go home. It is easier on labour which is why farmer tends to have very large fields and keep large numbers of animals more intensively.

2. We run diverse, old-style farms

Our farmers keep small numbers of animals and have a different other animals or enterprises on their farm. For example our farmer Hannah Thorogood keeps sheep, goats, layers and turkeys along with growing some vegetables.

This contrasts with large herds of the same animals (cattle or sheep or pigs) in the conventional system. The farmer is specialized to mainly one style of farming (beef farmer, dairy farmer, pig farmer, chicken farmer). This brings costs down as they buy everything in bulk. Plus, they can get subsidies from the government.

3. No environmental cost

Our farmers are not causing pollution of waters and air with too much manure.

They do not try to squeeze as much out of a piece of land as possible and cause degradation – such as overgrazing the land with too many animals to get the most profit.

This contrasts with the conventional farmer who has very large herd of animals that are overgrazing the pasture (soil degradation) and are in barns in large numbers, creating huge piles of manure to dispose of (water and air pollution).

4. We are regenerating previously mistreated land

We usually farm land that has been previously mistreated and so it needs careful attention and time to recover to its full glory. Therefore, we cannot put too many animals on it and we are therefore working with much smaller herds.

The mistreated land also may need reseeding of traditional grasses, replanting trees and hedgerows, which all adds up to more costs.

Nature Way Farm

5. No government subsidies

Our small farmers do not receive government subsidies that would help them to cover up costs of production.

Nature Way Farm

Ready to support farming that cares?

Whilst eating the finest meat

The amount of feed and fertilizers per 1 beef animal

As a calf, it is fed 100 kg of feed in a creep feeder:
60 kg barley
14 kg soya
23.5 kg sugar beet

growing steer (for 100 days) ratio:
350 kg barley
30 kg rapeseed

finishing steer (for 80 days)
600 kg barley

TOTAL feed per steer:
1010 kg barley
30 kg rapeseed
14 kg soya
23.5 kg sugar beet

Source: AHDB

Pesticide figure based on yearly application of pesticides on barley in 2018 (based on application to 0.17 ha that would produce 1 tonne of barley):

spring and winter barley were mixed in equal ratio for simplicity.
Pesticides in spring barley:
157.5 g
Pesticides in winter barley:
307.5 g

TOTAL 465 g of pesticides = to litres it is about 465 ml of pesticides per year.

Source: Pesticides usage survey 284 for arable crops in the United Kingdom 2018 (National Statistics)

Fertilizer figure (based on application to 0.17 ha that would produce 1 tonne of barley):
nitrogen: 24.14 kg
phosphate: 4.59 kg
potash: 5.95 kg
sulfur: 5.95 kg

TOTAL 40.63 kg of fertilizers

Source: British survey of fertilizer practice for 2018 (DEFRA)