Cattle Connect is an innovative and unique integrated beef production scheme, which connects Waitrose dairy farmers with beef producers in order to ensure that calves produced at the dairy farms are retained within the Waitrose supply chain.

Dairy Bulls

Dairy bulls have long been considered a waste product of the industry, as they are unable to produce milk and unsuitable for commercial beef production. By retaining the calves within the supply chain, Dovecote Parks veal scheme reduces wastage and improves welfare by making use of animals which would otherwise be killed at birth as an undesirable by-product.

Through one branch of Cattle Connect, the black and white calves generated by our dairy partners at Waitrose are supplied to our dedicated veal farmer, to rear them to Dovecote Park standards. The calves are housed in purpose built straw yards with plenty of natural light, and fed a diet of milk and water with some wheat and forage introduced into the diet at a later date. When they are aged between six and seven months, the calves are sent to Dovecote Park, where they will be processed for veal production.

Beef Cattle

Under Cattle Connect, the dairy farmers also provide Dovecote Park with beef calves, which are a result of using beef cattle semen to keep dairy cows in calf for milk production. The calves are then supplied to Dovecote through a supply chain consisting of three parts, all of which play a vital role in the success of the scheme:

Dairy Farm: The chain begins with the dairy farmers, who are responsible for the welfare and development of the new born calves during the first few weeks of their lives.

Calf Rearer: When the calves are aged between two and six weeks, they are collected from the dairy farms and taken directly to the specialist rearing units, which form the second stage of the Cattle Connect process. The rearers, who are carefully selected by Dovecote Park, are responsible for transferring the calves from a milk-based diet to one that consists of grass and forage.

Beef Farmer: Finally, aged four or five months, the cattle are transported directly to our beef farmers to be reared and finished. When the cattle are aged between 18 and 24 months of age and have reached the required weight, they will be taken to Dovecote Park for beef production.

Sustainable and fully traceable

Through this sustainable and fully traceable internal supply chain, Dovecote Park do not only ensure a steady stream of beef cattle for ourselves, but also provide a benefit to our partners in the dairy industry.