Morrisons is aiming to enrich its understanding of the workings of the British agricultural industry by opening its own farm.

The retailer will use the 700-acre Morrisons Farm in Dumfries House in East Ayrshire to research how farming efficiency and sustainability can be further improved.

“We are already very close to farmers, but we want to do more. This will give our relationship more depth,” said Morrisons chief executive Marc Bolland.

“We are investing in taking a leading role in applied farm research and making a contribution to helping the long-term sustainability of British farming,” he added.

Traditional cattle and sheep breeds will be reared on the site with the first livestock expected to arrive later in the year. Some arable crops will be grown for animal feed.