Morrisons beef deal boosts sector

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One of the country’s largest supermarket chains has increased its commitment to Beef Shorthorn cattle, with Morrisons announcing it will be increasing the premium paid to producers by 10p per kilo to encourage even more farmers to rear the breed.

Almost two years ago, the retailer, with just under 500 stores throughout the country ,launched its Traditional Beef Scheme with a 20p per kilo premium for Beef Shorthorn sired stock. This week’s announcement increases that to 30p per kilo,w worth between £30 to £40 per animal.

The pull through effect of the premium scheme is reflected in the increased popularity of the breed. In the short time the scheme has been running, registrations with the Beef Shorthorn breed society have risen 26 per cent and new record prices have been set for both Shorthorn bulls – 15,000gn – and cows – 13,000gn.

Andrew Loftus, Morrisons’ agriculture manager, said: “The Beef Shorthorn is now numerically Britain’s fastest-growing native breed and accounts for between 30 per cent and 50 per cent 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.”

The scheme, which pays a lesser premium of 10p per kilo for other native breeds, sees the cattle processed at the three Morrisons’ abattoirs in Turriff, Spalding and Colne.

Beef Shorthorn Society secretary Frank Milnes said: “We are delighted about the Traditional Beef Scheme’s success and Morrisons’ subsequent further commitment to Beef Shorthorn.

“The initiative, which has helped to increase the value of Beef Shorthorn bred steers, has brought a very welcome boost for the breed.”

The announcement of the increased premium coincided with the launch of the Beef Shorthorn bull Rothesay Eildon in Cogent’s latest Signature Beef Range.

The bull was bred at the Morrisons Farm at Dumfries House in Ayrshire, and his presence with a major artificial insemination company will allow commercial suckler producers access to a high-ranking bull with the versatility to produce replacement heifers and fast-growing steers for finishing.

His Estimated Breeding Values reflect the breed’s maternal characteristics and combined this with growth and conformation figures that have placed him in the top 1 per cent of the breed.

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