Morrisons offers Beef Shorthorn cattle premium

Morrisons is offering a premium price for Beef Shorthorn-sired cattle for its Traditional Beef Scheme.

The supermarket is offering 30p/kg, an increase from 20p/kg for the Beef Shorthorn cattle breed to meet demand for the Traditional British Beef range.

Morrisons agriculture manager Andrew Loftus said: “The Beef Shorthorn is now Britain’s fastest-growing native breed and accounts for between 30% and 50% of our traditional breeds range.

“Offering a payment premium for the Beef Shorthorn has undoubtedly encouraged farmers to invest in this breed and reflects Morrisons’ longstanding commitment to the Beef Shorthorn breed.”

Morrisons said it intended the Beef Shorthorn breed to make up 100% of the scheme, according to livestock operations manager Caroline Thompson: “Last year over 98% of the Beef Shorthorn-sired beef supplied to the scheme was within our spec and received a 30p/kg premium.

“Our ultimate goal is for Beef Shorthorn to make up 100% of our Traditional Beef weekly kill, but in order to do so, we need to expand numbers considerably; ideally we would like a dedicated supply chain featuring farmers who are willing to commit their entire crop of surplus Beef Shorthorn-sired cattle to specific finishers.”

The Traditional Beef Scheme was set up in 2011 and has provided a “welcome boost” to the breed. The Beef Shorthorn Society’s Frank Milnes commented: “Morrisons’ Traditional Beef Scheme, launched exactly three years ago, has introduced a very welcome boost for the breed by helping to increase the value of Beef Shorthorn-bred steers, which were previously regarded as a by-product. That trend is reflected in calf registrations, which are up 41% since 2011.

“The additional steers now coming into the system are commanding significant premiums in the ring from finishers confident they have the genetic potential to meet the spec and ultimately meet with Morrisons growing demand. It’s now over to suckler producers who recognise Beef Shorthorn as the functional suckler cow to respond to that interest.”

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