Morrisons aims for better beef production

Morrisons has revealed new beef farming ‘protocol’, which aims to reduce the time it takes to prepare cattle for slaughter by up to 10 months.

The plan, in which participation is voluntary for its beef cattle farmers, will see cattle reach the 340kg deadweight slaughter weight at 14 months as opposed to 22 months. The supermarket reported this would help the industry become “more sustainable and competitive”, while delivering a £397 (40%) cost reduction for producers, according to economic analysis by Scotland’s Rural College.

Morrisons intends to achieve this by selecting cattle on specific genetics, combined with a special feeding programme.

Andrew Loftus, Morrisons agriculture manager, said the plan was already proving popular: ”Our voluntary protocol has already received strong interest from farmers and is intended to help the beef industry become more sustainable and competitive.

“Currently the average beef animal undergoes 2.4 lifetime movements, typically from one farm to another, but with this new protocol we are able to reduce this to just over one on average. This is a big win for the farmer, retailer and the environment.”

Loftus also highlighted reducing the life span of the cattle would subsequently reduce emissions: “Beef production is often criticised as more environmentally damaging than other meats, but this new system means that overall environments costs can be reduced to levels similar to pork.”

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