Newcastle University Farms and agricultural company Buitelaar have launched a Longhorn Heritage Beef project at Cockle Park Research Farm, near Morpeth.
The project involves Newcastle University’s Nafferton Farm dairy herd of 300 Holstein Friesians being inseminated to traditional Longhorn bulls to produce a terminal beef calf of increased market-value.
In recent years, Holstein Friesian male calves have had little value, prompting Buitelaar to launch its own dairy beef scheme in response to unwanted black and white bull calves.
The Buitelaar beef scheme has now been extended to produce a traditional heritage beef calf, providing ease of calving, increased animal health and welfare and increased growth-rates.
Three Longhorn bulls have also been purchased by Newcastle University from renowned breeder Charlie Sutcliffe from Telford Longhorns, Lincolnshire.
University Farms manager Gareth Hancock said: “Newcastle University Farms is extremely excited about this ground-breaking initiative. We are the only University Farm in the UK to start this project.
“We are linking decisions directly to the food-chain and developing a breeding system based on what the market wants and one that suits our business.”
Veterinarian Lee-Anne Oliver from Hexham-based Scott Mitchell, added: “In time, there will be an economic value to the project and in the years to come, a commercial benefit to the wider dairy industry.”
Buitelaar business development manager, Hugh Pocock, said: “There is increasing demand for traditional heritage beef and we are developing an exciting market to fulfill consumer demand.”