Waitrose replaces dairy with beef production at Leckford Estate

Waitrose is beefing up cattle production at the Leckford Estate
Waitrose is beefing up cattle production at the Leckford Estate

Waitrose has unveiled plans for a new beef production facility at its farm on the Leckford Estate, replacing the current dairy unit.

The new beef facility will replace the Hampshire estate's existing dairy operation, which represents just 3% of the retailer's total milk production.

Cattle produced at the estate will spend a large proportion of the year outside and are free to roam.

Additional crop land will also be created to help produce more flour and oil, which will be sold to customers.

The announcement is part of the Waitrose's ten year agriculture strategy.

Andrew Hoad, head of the Leckford Estate, said regenerative agriculture was vital in fighting climate change.

“Retaining cattle on the farm means providing a rich source of organic matter, which will improve soil quality and contribute to multiple benefits including greater biodiversity," he said.

"Not only will this be good for the environment, it will be good for our customers too as we can ensure we continue to grow high quality crops and produce whilst using nature balanced solutions to encourage wildlife and benefit nature.”

Waitrose has farmed on the Leckford Estate for over 90 years and is the only remaining supermarket in the UK to have its own farm.

James Bailey, executive director at Waitrose, said the estate was a test bed for industry best practice and farming innovation.

"Over the coming years, we will take those learnings to tweak our approach and share them with all our suppliers to ensure best practice across our whole supply chain.”