Horton House Organic Farm is a Crown Tenancy situated on the Wiltshire Somerset border in the lush Pewsey Vale and extending to the chalk downlands above the valley. The farm is certified Pasture For Life, providing absolute assurance that animals are 100% grass fed throughout their lives, with no grain, cereals or other manufactured feed permitted.
Jonny and Rachael Rider are the third generation of the Rider family to be rotational grazing on these extensive organic pastures, rich with a mix of grass species and herbal leys. The farm has fed no concentrate for 12 years, and the Riders have recently helped developed the Pasture for Life Dairy standards.
The herd of 400 have been milked once a day for almost 20 years and the cows dry off for 3 months a year. No antibiotics have been used for mastitis for 10 years and herd health is exemplary across the board. The diversity of breeds includes Jersey, Montbeliarde, Ayrshire, Red Poll and more recently some beef crosses for veal production. Calving is in Spring to coincide with school holidays, as help from the family is essential!
When Pasture for Life certification for dairy farmers was launched in January 2018, the Pasture-Fed Livestock Association (PFLA), working with its group of pilot farmers, established that offspring from pasture-fed dairy cows must be given the chance of life, and where possible, remain on certified farms their entire lives.
Horton House are founder members of a new Pasture Fed Livestock Association initiative focused on developing the concept for pasture fed suckled veal from the “cow with calf” system. This unique approach sees that all calves born each year are kept on farm and stay with the cows for a minimum of 8 months to suckle milk naturally while grazing the organic pastures.