HOMEBRED here in Northumberland, the proven genes of the Hallington herd has made its way across Europe, and even Australia, by popular demand.

On their 325 acre farm, father and son team Alan and Steven Lawson of South Farm, Hallington, keep two pedigree cattle herds comprising of 50 Aberdeen Angus, 630 commercial sheep and 20 pedigree Texels.

What the farm had been best known for many years was the well-bred Charolais Alsnow herd that the Lawson’s kept, which they recently dispersed at Stirling Mart, in order to focus on their prize-winning Aberdeen Angus.

“It’s the end of an era,” Alan said. “We’ve reared Charolais for over 30 years – and with great success – so there is a part of me which will be sad to see them go.

“On the other hand, we fully believe that rearing Angus is the way forward. It is one of the most popular breeds in the world, and not only do they taste great, but new research suggests they are also one breed of cattle with one of the lowest carbon footprint – and in a world where everything is pointing towards being green, people want to eat as sustainably as possible.”

It was after tragedy had struck the farm in 2002 that Alan chose to introduce Aberdeen Angus to South Farm, after he lost all of his sheep and cattle to a outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

Since then, Lawson Angus cattle have been in high demand, and they’ve seen a pretty penny at the mart too – with several five-figure prices – including top bull Hallington Edition which made £16,000gns at Stirling mart.

“Several of our homebred Hallington cattle have gone on to see success at national shows,” Steven said. “One of our best bulls Hallington Picasso was awarded reserve male championship at the Northumberland County Show, and a third place at the Royal Highland Show.

“It is always rewarding to receive recognition, but also to know that our bulls have helped ensure other farmers’ success.”

It was at the Royal Highland show where the prize-winning Hallington genetics caught the eye of an Australian farmer, who requested the Lawsons send over several embryos to the other side of the world.

“He was very happy with the two Aberdeen Angus bulls and single heifer that he got from the embryos, and he kept on one of the bulls on his farm as a sire,” Alan said.

“We’ve sent embryos across to Germany and America too. I think it’s fair to say we’ve produced some pretty well-travelled cows.”

To ensure that high breeding standings are met, Alan and Steven use artificial insemination on the farm, which is conduced by Steven, a trained AI technician.

“We’ve found AI very useful,” Steven said. “And its constantly being developed to get better results. Recently, we’ve managed to breed a heifer whose tubes were blocked through conducing AI on the bench, which is pretty unusual.”