Supermarket giant Morrisons is on the hunt for more Beef Shorthorn sired cattle to meet demand for its Traditional Beef Scheme.
The retailer said it is now killing more than 400 head of native bred cattle every week as part of the scheme, which offers a 30p a kilo premium for in-spec Beef Shorthorn sired cattle.
Around 40% of the cattle kill is Beef Shorthorn sired, and according to the retailer more than 98% of the Shorthorn beef supplied last year qualified for the full premium.
Caroline Thompson from Morrisons said: “Our ultimate goal is for Beef Shorthorn to make up 100% 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’ scheme, which launched three years ago, had introduced a “very welcome boost” for the breed with calf registrations up 41% since 2011 as producers achieve increased values for Shorthorn bred steers.
He added: “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.”
In February at the bull sales in Stirling, a record Beef Shorthorn price and average was attributed to a resurgence in the breed brought about by the Morrisons scheme.
An average price of £5,447 was achieved for 51 beasts, beating the previous best set two years ago by £456.
While, the new record price of 17,000gn – 2,000gn more than the previous best – was paid for Willingham Fomaulhault from the Haigh family from Ashgrove, Market Rasen, Lincolnshire.