Helen Parr and Daniel Fabb

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Helen and Daniel Parr are first generation farmers, running a herd of 170 pedigree polled Hereford suckler cows across 158 hectares (390.4 acres) of grassland on the Fens. The couple also run a hay and straw contracting
business which Daniel manages, with Helen taking the lead on the beef enterprise.

Without the opportunity of a family farm, both Helen and Daniel have undoubtedly worked hard to achieve what  they have today, applying a real can-do attitude throughout their journey. As a herdsman’s daughter, Helen previously worked on a dairy farm before turning her hand to beef in 2012.

“We began bottle feeding calves and then I got into Herefords, and we decided to go down the pedigree beef route,” she says.

While the beef enterprise is a suckler herd first and foremost, genetics has become a significant part of the business, with the Fabb herd supplying pedigree polled Hereford genetics around the world. Helen’s focus on producing high-quality maternal animals has resulted in them producing breeding stock for artificial insemination (AI) for both beef and dairy customers, as well as selling stock bulls, breeding females and semen worldwide.

The herd is of an elite herd health status, with animal welfare and health a key priority, as well as a prominent focus on Estimated Breeding Values.

The closed herd follows a tight calving pattern, largely served via AI, as well as running an intensive embryo programme, which has enabled them to further improve the herd using genetics from different areas in the world, including Canada and Denmark.

The herd is fed a forage-based diet and grazed on a nature reserve throughout the year, consisting of grass and herbal leys, with bulls finished on Lucerne. Helen says they have changed the way the herd has grazed over the years using different leys, while focusing on improving soil structure.

She says this has resulted in improved performance and eliminated the need for concentrate feed and fertiliser. The couple have also planted 5,000 metres of hedgerows, created woodland areas and established wildflower meadows to improve diversity and provide shade for the herd. Renewable energy from solar panels and wind turbines is used to run electricity on-farm.

Educating the next generation is another key focus of Helen’s, and she has plans for the farm to hold visits fromllocal schools to teach the children about beef production and the local wildlife.