Morrisons supermarket sign© Business Visual/Rex Shutterstock

Morrisons has announced it is getting out of farming by returning “The Morrisons Farm” to the Dumfries House estate in Ayrshire.

The partnership with Dumfries House Trust, which has allowed the retailer to run research on farming efficiency, sustainability, genetics and estimated breeding values, will end in November after six years.

A press release from the supermarket said Dumfries House was “now a growing visitor attraction” and that it “made sense” to “reincorporate the farm back into the day-to-day management of the estate.”

Morrisons group corporate services director, Martyn Jones said: “The Dumfries House project was an exceptional opportunity for us to explore and develop farming practices. 

See also: Morrisons axes agriculture manager role  

“We are pleased with our achievements at the farm including developing our Signature beef specification and creating best practice guidance for our suppliers. 

“We will take the learning and development knowledge gained from Dumfries to progress our sustainable livestock programme with our existing farmer supply base.”

Morrisons poured £2m into the 404ha-farm, which runs 800 Scotch Mule sheep and 200 beef Shorthorn cattle.

A page on Dumfries House website said the partnership was set up to “develop a blueprint for profitable and sustainable British farming”.

A spokesman from Dumfries House Trust Estate said: “In 2007 when the trust took over Dumfries House we needed input from a number of different partners and Morrisons played an important part through their involvement with the farm.

“We are indebted to Morrisons for the hardwork and investment put into developing the farming operation.

“Now that the estate has developed and the project is more stable, this seems the right time to bring the farm back under the direct management of Dumfries House.

“This coincides with a repositioning and a change in priorities for Morrisons.

“Although it is our intention to reduce stock, we will continue to develop the operation, to give the farm and the Dumfries House Estate a sustainable future.”

Morrisons move out of farming will raise fresh questions about the supermarket’s repositioning and whether it will move away from its unique vertically integrated model, which means the retailer owns some of the processors and packers which supply it, including meat-processing plant Woodheads.