Morrisons seeks more Shorthorn beef

Bradford-based supermarket chain Morrisons is searching for fresh supplies of beef shorthorn sired cattle.

The retailer’s weekly kill of native bred cattle has grown to over 400 head since its Traditional range was relaunched in prepack format in June.

Caroline Thompson, Morrisons’ livestock operations manager, said: “Beef Shorthorn is numerically Britain’s fastest growing native breed, it currently makes up almost 40 per cent of our traditional breeds weekly throughput and so far we are really pleased with its’ offer. Last year over 98 per cent of the Beef Shorthorn sired beef supplied to the scheme was within our spec and received a 30p/kg premium.

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“Our ultimate goal is for Beef Shorthorn to make up 100 per cent of our Traditional Beef weekly kill, however 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.”

Beef Shorthorn Society secretary, Frank Milnes, said: “Morrisons Traditional Beef Scheme 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 up 41 per cent since 2011.

“The additional steers now coming in to 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.”