Gentons Longhorns was established by Bertrand (Bertie) Facon on the grounds of Lessor Farm in Milcombe, near Banbury. The Gentons name originates from a farm in South-East France on which Bertie was born and developed his interest in farming.
Lessor Farm and the surrounding 40 acres were purchased in 1998 and with a further 12 subsequent purchases, the farm has now grown to 350 acres of grass in a single block.
Having spent a year looking at many breeds, 2011 saw Bertie decide upon the English Longhorn having been attracted by the breed’s robust characteristics and ease of calving. In 2014 another 80 acres and several buildings were purchased some five miles away, outside the village of Bloxham, to host a herd of Salers.
In 2016, Bertie teamed up with Ben Bellew who brought with him extensive experience in showing pedigree beef cattle and in setting up focused breeding programs with the use of embryo transfer.
In order to maximise the herd’s efficiency, herd health is of vital importance to Bertie and Ben and as a member of the SAC High Health scheme the herd is annually blood tested.
Sadly in 2016 Lessor Farm came down with bovine TB. Much has been learned since from that experience and today the farm observes the strictest of biosecurity measures. As part of that, cattle are enclosed within a 3.5km electrified badger fence. Additionally, most of that enclosure sits on sand, which allows the cattle to stay outside far into the winter.
Currently, the herd totals some 30 Longhorn cows, which were either homebred or purchased over the years from various herds, including Rousham, Blackbrook, Fishwick, Southfield and Gorse.
The aim of the Gentons herd is to total 40 top quality cows with the help of a new embryo program which is planned for 2019. Three of the best cows are now part of an IVF program and our current inventory of embryos collected in 2018 include Gorse Quesnelia EX94, Fishwick Jamaica VG88, Southfield Lark EX91 and Gorse Quirky EX90.
Beginning in 2019, we expect to be able to offer privately and at the Society sales, replacement quality heifers and young bulls with high health status. In addition, there will be packages of both semen and embryos available for private purchase.s
1998 – Purchase of Lessor Farm.
2005 – First female cattle purchased privately from the Rousham herd and Worcester Sales, as well as the purchase of Blackbrook Rochester as the herd’s first stock bull.
2015 – Gentons 007 James Bond was named bull of the year (co-owned with Joshua and John Briggs).
2016 – Ben Bellew joined Lessor Farm.
Successful showing season with Gentons Pecrette and Gentons Pacita. Gentons Polo took the breed championship at the Worcester Autumn sales.
Successful first embryo program with Fishwick Natalie and Blackbrook Sonnet, resulting in 21 embryos being collected.
Badger fence enclosure is erected.
Gentons Pyrite stood champion at Moreton In the Marsh Show having been sold to the Gorse herd.
2017 – Second embryo program with Blackbrook Vera resulting in three embryos, one of which being Gentons Sara ET.
2018 – The best show season so far for the herd. Gorse Quesnelia was crowned Cow of the Year, Gentons Qasim was crowned Heifer of the Year and Riverlands Ratty was crowned Bull of the Year. All three animals were in the summer show team.
The love of farming has been in Ben’s blood since growing up on his Grandad’s beef and sheep farm in Warwickshire, spending most weekends and school holidays watching and copying his every move.
When Ben was in his last year of school, his Grandad at age 77 decided to retire from the farm and move closer to the village. Ben then decided to take his love of farming up a level by enrolling at Moreton Morrell Agricultural College in Warwickshire to study a National Diploma in Agriculture.
During his studies, Ben worked part time at a local dairy farm to fund his social life and gain experience in different farming enterprises. After finishing his course, Ben started working full time at the same farm where he worked for two years before moving to a beef herd.
Ben moved to Buckinghamshire in 2009 when he started working for Doug Mash and his Brockhurst pedigree Limousin herd. Doug has built up a great reputation within the breed having won many show titles and for investing heavily in quality blood lines for his herd.
The herd was incredibly successful in the show ring during Ben’s time there with a few of the herd’s major successes listed below.
Ben’s last show and sale for the herd was in December 2016 at the Red Ladies sale in Carlisle. Having secured the championship with Brockhurst Howzat she went on to sell for 24,000gns which was a record price for the herd.
Having decided to move to the Cotswolds to be closer to family and friends Ben was on the lookout for a new challenge. After talking to a fellow stockman, Ben was informed of a potential job opportunity close to him around Banbury.
I met with Bertie and visited both Lessor and Painters farms and from the beginning it was clear to see the amount of potential with both holdings. Ben decided to take the job and began working for Gentons Longhorns in January 2016
© Gentons Longhorns 2018