The pedigree Blonde D'Aquitaine herd was established 35 years ago in 1980 from just
four foundation females. It remains a closed herd with every female related to one of the original foundation
cows; Lixton Ophelia, Conington Prudence, Toinette and Tulipe. Good money was paid for the first two cows,
Ophelia and Prudence were bought at Carlisle in 1980. Both were sired by West Ridden’s Icarus, a bull well
known for his stretch and conformation.

Then in 1982, a trip to France saw the purchase of two pure-bred cows from Agen in the Valley of the Garonne
(formerly the Aquitaine region where the breed originates). These cows were Toinette and Tulipe who were bred from first-prize winners at the Paris Show. The muscle, size and stretch of the breeding females has been gradually increased over the years through selective breeding using specific stock bulls including Totteridge Titus, Dunningswood Prospect, Dodo, Ystwyth Flash, Kilboy Dargle and Hadley Legend. All were easy calving bulls.

Since then our policy has been to breed more modern style Blondes, with greater muscling but still easy calving, to meet the needs of the commercial and pedigree market in the South West. We invested in a number of stock bulls for a specific role within the pedigree herd – Doncombe Opulent, Megray Ontario and Dodimead Dynasty. Fortescue Blondes won the Society’s Best Large Herd competition in 1995 and were reserve in 1998.

In December 1999, we purchased a herd of pure-bred South Devons to increase the size of our commercial suckler herd, which have been crossed with a Blonde terminal sire to produce a high-quality carcase. Ever since the two breeds have been cross-bred together, they have produced excellent commercial cattle and replacement heifers for the herd.

In 2009, a third breed was added to the herd, an Aberdeen Angus bull, Gear Finn, Jun Champion of the Royal Cornwall Show 2009. The breed is renowned to be easy calving and because of this he has served mainly heifers in a bid to calve them at 22 months of age. 

Commercial bulls are finished intensively, reaching slaughter at between 12 to 13 months, with heifers taking slightly longer at around 14 to 15 months. A selection of pedigree or commercial bulls and heifers are kept to sell for breeding. These are sold privately off the farm, see below for details of these animals.

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