Morrisons is on the hunt for more Beef Shorthorn-sired cattle for its traditional breed scheme.

The supermarket is offering a 30p/kg premium to Beef Shorthorn or crosses hitting specification.

Morrisons has a weekly kill of about 3,500 cattle a week, of which 400 are in the traditional breed scheme.

Roughly half of those are Beef Shorthorn sired and the past 98% hit the spec and received the price bonus.

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Morrisons livestock operations manager Caroline Thompson said the ultimate goal was for the breed to make up 100% of its traditional beef kill.

“In order to do so, we need to expand numbers considerably,” she said.

“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 had raised the value of Beef Shorthorn-bred steers since it launched three years ago, helping calf registrations increase 41% since 2011.

“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,” he said.

“It’s now over to suckler producers who recognise Beef Shorthorn as the functional suckler cow to respond to that interest.”