Traditional and native cattle breeders are being encouraged by supermarket giant Morrisons to support a series of high profile store cattle sales across the UK – among them a standalone fixture to run alongside a major autumn beef breeding event at Skipton Auction Mart in October.
Former North of England Beef Shorthorn Club chairman Rob Paisley with his 2010 Skipton show champion.
Bradford-based Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC is supporting 12 specialist store sales up and down the country, as it champions the cause of some of Britain’s best known traditional and native cattle breeds.
It includes a specific sale for native breeds at the front end of main stores sale at Skipton’s annual multi-breeds beef cattle highlight, on Wednesday, October 12.
Andrew Loftus, of Ripon, operations manager with Morrisons, explained: “We have just launched an incentive targeting UK farmers who rear traditional and native cattle breeds, through which we will pay a 10p premium for native breeds and native breed-crosses, and a 20p premium for Beef Shorthorn or Shorthorn-crosses.
“We have around 1,200 farmer suppliers across the UK and source some 3,500 prime cattle every single week. We are now looking to supplement these with up to 300 traditional and native breeds cattle on a weekly basis.
“We want to get as many of our finishers as possible around the ring buying native breeds cattle at these special sales, including Skipton, which is one of our local auction marts.
“Marts like Skipton are increasingly staging and promoting traditional and native breed sales and producers can now expect to achieve good prices. We are doing all we can to encourage the nation’s farmers to place suitable livestock in local sales – and our finishers to support them.”
Entries for the Skipton sale close on Wednesday, October 5, and Skipton Auction Mart’s general manager Jeremy Eaton is hoping it will create keen interest among potential vendors right across the region.
He said: “We welcome Morrisons’ support and their ground-breaking efforts to boost the appeal of our great British breeds among UK farmers. This special fixture purposely targets native cattle breeds eligible for the Morrisons’ scheme and they will be promoting it extensively among their finishers, who we look forward to seeing at the ringside.”
There’s also another important native breeds event at Skipton the following month, the second annual show and sale of pedigree beef Shorthorn bulls and females, staged on behalf of The Beef Shorthorn Cattle Society, on Wednesday, November 9, for which entries close on Wednesday. October 12.
Mr Eaton explained: “These two important sales hold major appeal to breeders of traditional and native cattle, which are ideally suited to modern farming methods and are particularly suitable for commercial buyers conscious of the trend towards lower maintenance cattle.”
One local breeder who will be supporting the Shorthorn show and sale – if only to defend his 2010 title win - is Rob Paisley, of West Moor House Farm, Middleton, Ilkley, immediate past chairman of the North of England Beef Shorthorn Club and a national society director.
Mr Paisley, who currently has 35 Beef Shorhorn cows, secured the championship last year with a 19-month-old heifer and is planning to bring along eight heifers for this year’s renewal.
He said: “We were delighted with the success of last year’s inaugural show and sale at Skipton, which is in the heart of beef suckler country. It saw virtually total clearance, strong trade and robust averages. It turned quite a few heads and made people realise what good cattle Beef Shorthorns are.
“We are encouraging as many club members as possible to enter and, with new breeders now coming on board in increasing numbers, we are confident of an even bigger and better quality turnout this year.”
Native cattle breeders should also be mindful of the fact that access remains open to conservation grazing under the higher level stewardship scheme. Craven is a key area for farmers eligible to enter these schemes, of which native breeds are an important component.
Makin Debut Championship Coup at Skipton Texel Highlight
Geldards Retain Championship at Skipton Charollais Rams Show
Elliotts Repeat Wensleydale Success at Skipton Native Breeds Show