Morrisons launches pilot beef efficiency scheme
Run in partnership with Arla, the Sire Selection Scheme will give farmers incentives to use six bulls, to examine whether their calves grow more efficiently to their optimal weight.
The bulls are drawn from the Beef Shorthorn, Limousin, and Stabiliser breeds, and have been selected specifically both for their use on dairy cows, as well as for their beef value.
The scheme will start in the South West region but if successful, Arla will open up the scheme to all of their dairy farmers across the UK in the New Year.
Morrisons believes there are efficiency issues in the finishing of dairy beef and hopes that by applying mathematics and genetics it could lead to savings across the supply chain.
The scheme will be launched with Morrisons’ dairy partner Arla. 400 farmers in Arla’s south-west region will have the opportunity to choose to have their cows artificially inseminated from a list of six beef sires. The sires, drawn from Cogent Breeding Ltd, the UK’s largest bull stud, have been specifically selected for their use on dairy cows as well as their beef value. To encourage farmers to sign up to the scheme, Morrisons has pledged to underwrite the project by paying a premium in addition to the full market value of the calf.
Andrew Loftus, Morrisons Agriculture Manager, says:
“Morrisons is committed to investing in the British beef industry. We want to help farmers develop more efficient systems, which produce more beef with fewer resources without impacting on quality. This Selected Sire Scheme can make a real difference, ensuring the most appropriate bulls are chosen to produce beef calves, leading to a better deal for farmers, retailers and consumers.”
Arthur Fearnall, Arla Dairy Farmer, says:
“This scheme has the potential to be a big new market for dairy calves, especially since it’s backed by a big name like Morrisons. I’m therefore very happy to welcome the scheme.”
Participating dairy farmers will receive a premium direct from Morrisons for each calf born from the selected sires, in addition to full market value for the calf. The only additional requirement on the dairy farmer is the sire must be recorded on the calf’s passport. This will enable calf performance to be measured on a significant scale across the whole supply chain.
The premium will be £30 for Beef Shorthorn sires and £20 for other selected sires. Dedicated collection centres and calf-rearers have been established in the south-west to take these calves. These will be immediately operational, will also be able to take black and white bull calves or non-selected sire calves (although no premium will be payable on these).
400 farmers in the South West pilot area will receive an information pack in early November with full details about the scheme.
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