Morrisons Shorthorn beef scheme
A sustainable farming initiative
Morrisons and the Beef Shorthorn Cattle Society have been working together since 2010. We are generating a sustainable partnership towards developing the Traditional Beef Brand, which is currently available in stores under the Morrisons' signature brand. Moreover, we are aware that Beef Shorthorn is globally renowned for its eating quality. The beef is characterised by marbling which influences its consistently great taste. It has been successfully confirmed as a quality product using tenderness training and trained taste panels at Morrisons Meat Quality Centre in Spalding in Lincolnshire. Overall the Beef Shorthorn is one of the best placed breeds for the future of British food production: its carcase performance, meat quality, alongside its on-farm benefits, makes the Beef Shorthorn an attractive breed.
Taking the supply chain forward
Developing a robust supply chain is critical to Morrison's success, and developing the Shorthorn Beef Scheme is no exception. Morrisons are actively engaging with pedigree breeders, suckler producers and finishers, along with their abattoirs and butchers to develop a premium quality brand.
Registered pedigree bulls are supplied to suckler producers by a network of breeders, each with a common focus - to breed a functional suckler cow suited to a low input forage based sustainable system.
Breeders are committed to improving the Beef Shorthorn's performance using some of the most progressive tools. An increasing number have adopted the ABRI Breedplan performance recording register, enabling them to select more accurately for maternal traits including milk yield, calving ease and gestation length.
At the Beef Shorthorn Society, we are proud of being the first UK breed to insist that all animals sold at official society sales are blood tested for BVD, Lepto and IBR, apart from cattle from herds already accredited by a Cattle Health Certification Standards (CHeCS) scheme.
The Beef Shorthorn is providing a solution for suckler producers who are seeking a functional cow following the demise of quality replacements sourced for many years from the dairy sector. With trends towards developing closed herds for biosecurity and health reasons, the Beef Shorthorn fits well into herd replacement strategies.
The Beef Shorthorn combines its natural maternal characteristics with performance and ease of management. The Beef Shorthorn females excel at:
Calving ease - low birth weight
Feed efficiency - excellent foraging ability
Suited to low input systems
Whilst Beef Shorthorn cross heifers are retained for herd replacement purposes, steers - previously a by-product - are now in demand for Morrisons Traditional Beef Scheme.
Morrisons is helping to develop a network of finishers with farm assured holdings and excellent standards of animal welfare and traceability. The supermarket's objective is for continuity of supply of high quality cattle. These animals are generally steers, newly weaned and purchased either at the annual autumn store market auctions up and down the country or direct from suckler producers at the farm gate.
The supermarket is always searching for producers to deliver into their own supply chain: either to one of their approved finishing units whereby the suckler producer retains ownership, or by selling Beef Shorthorn through a dedicated native breed store sale.