A new market has been found for dairy bull calves, with the retail giant Morrisons announcing a supply agreement with farmers participating in Arla UK 360 – the dairy co-operative's UK assurance scheme.

Bull and beef calves from these producers can be sold into Buitelaar Production – Morrisons' beef-rearing partners – calf-rearing units which may go on to form part of the Morrisons beef supply chain.

Buitelaar and Arla both believe that every calf should have a value and purpose and that no healthy calf should be shot or slaughtered before eight weeks of age.

Morrisons agricultural manager, Sophie Throup said: "As we own our abattoirs and end-to-end meat production, we saw an opportunity to connect the supply chains to support our dairy farmers. Having worked with Buitelaar since 2009 on developing the dairy beef market, we already have a good working relationship to build on through the extended programme for Morrisons' Arla farmers."

Adam Buitelaar, managing director of the Buitelaar group added: "With 30% of UK beef being imported into the UK, working across the supply chain and across both beef and dairy in this way could prove a big step in making Britain further self-sufficient in beef.

"Having recently received recognition from farm animal welfare organisation, Compassion in World Farming and been awarded the Good Calf Award, we're confident our calf-rearing units deliver the highest welfare and care for calves, so it is great to see industry leaders come together to rethink the natural links between beef and dairy," he said.