Asda officially launched its dairy calves initiative this week in a move to boost its range of home-produced beef.

Under the supermarket's 360˚ Sustainable Dairy Calf scheme, farmers will receive £30 per calf from a rearer in Wales, who will grow them to about 180kg deadweight and put them into Asda's standard beef range. The calves would previously have been put to death shortly after birth or exported for veal.

In the first year about 3,000 calves will be reared, representing 25% of Asda's farmers' calves. More rearers are being sought, and the long-term goal is to rear all of the bull calves produced, Asda said.

"The lighter animals produce smaller and cheaper joints and cuts of beef, which are in demand by consumers in the credit crunch," said Asda agricultural development manager Pearce Hughes. "We have had good feedback from consumers on the product."