Morrisons has announced a supply agreement for dairy bull calves with Arla.
The supermarket chain will accept dairy bull calves from farmers participating in Arla UK 360 – the dairy co-operative’s UK assurance scheme.
Eligible Arla dairy producers will be able to sell bull and beef calves into the calf-rearing units of Buitelaar Production – Morrisons’ beef-rearing partners – and Belgian and British Blue crossed breeds may go on to form part of the Morrisons beef supply chain.
The move supports the Arla 360 UK requirement that no healthy calf be shot or slaughtered before eight weeks of age.
“As we work with Arla farmers making the transition to the Arla UK 360 standards, we see the extensive efforts they are making,” said Morrisons agricultural manager Sophie Throup.
She added: “As we own our abattoirs and end-to-end meat production, we saw an opportunity to connect the supply chains to support our dairy farmers even more.
“Having worked with Buitelaar since 2009 on developing the dairy beef market, we already have a good working relationship to build on through the extended programme for Morrisons Arla farmers.”
Buitelaar Group managing director Adam Buitelaar said the company shared Arla’s view that every calf should have a value and purpose.
He added: “With 30% of UK beef being imported into the UK, working across the supply chain and across both beef and dairy in this way could prove a big step in making Britain further self-sufficient in beef.
“Having recently received recognition from farm animal welfare organisation Compassion in World Farming and been awarded the Good Calf Award, we’re confident our calf-rearing units deliver the highest welfare and care for calves, so it is great to see industry leaders come together to rethink the natural links between beef and dairy.”
Graham Wilkinson, Arla Foods UK’s agriculture director, welcomed the news and said: “This decision and the support through the supply chain with Buitelaar is the perfect example of how bigger change can be delivered in agriculture if we all work together.”
Arla Foods is a global dairy company and co-operative owned by 10,300 dairy farmers, including 2,300 in the UK.
It produces various brands including Lurpak, Cravendale and Anchor.