Why Lowlines?

We fell in love with the Lowline breed mainly because of their smaller size & their docile disposition.  Our pastures are limited in size so the Lowline breed works great for us.  Lowline cattle are not just another novelty breed.  While they are naturally quiet-tempered, polled, easy animals to raise, & they are an extremely efficient animal that produces a high quality meat product. Lowlines consume about 1/3 the amount of feed as does a regular size beef cow.  Where you would normally stock 6 Angus cows you can run 10 Lowlines.  Mature fullblood cows weigh 700 to 1000lbs & are 38” to 46” tall.  Fullblood bulls weigh 900 to 1400lbs & are 40” to 48” tall. Lowlines have superior carcass traits with 30% larger ribeye area per hundredweight than any other breed & excellent marbling.  Lowlines were developed in Australia to fatten on forage (grass).  Grass fed beef has many health benefits including more omega-3 fatty acids, more conjugated linoleic acid (a potent cancer fighter), less total fat & calories, less omega-6 (linked to several disorders & diseases), & less risk of bacterial contamination due to the higher ph of the cows digestive tract.

One of the most interesting facts about Lowlines is the pounds of retail meat per acre.   This is where Lowlines really excel!

Consider the comparison data in the table below, provided by Trangie Research Center.


Breed

Ave # of breeding cows per 100 acres*

Pounds of average carcass per head wt. at 15 months off grass

Pounds of carcass weight per acre

Retail carcass yield % saleable weight

Pounds of retail product per acre

Simmental

23

556

115.0

69%

79.4

Wagyu

38

442

151.1

55%

83.1

Shorthorn

28

532

132.4

65%

86.1

Hereford

30

552

147.2

64%

94.2

Murray Grey

32

547

157.7

67%

105.7

Angus

33

543

161.7

68%

110

Lowline

54

418

203.1

76%

154.3

 

Lets not forget about a “marketable” product…..

An average side of a fulblood Lowline beef weighs in at about 200lbs.  This is a very nice size for the average household.  The consumer gets the benefit of having all the different cuts the full half offers without having to buy & store more beef than they would like to.  The portions & size of cuts are also more in line with today’s health conscious consumer. 

In the commercial beef herd, Lowlines also excel in several areas.  One, of course, is in the area of calving ease.  Lowline bulls are perfect for 1st calf heifers.  The smaller size of the bull is easier on the heifer at breeding time & the smaller calves mean much less trouble at birth.  You can actually breed your heifers earlier with a Lowline bull due to the small birth weight of the calves & have your heifers done calving by the time the rest of the herd freshens.  The gestation period for the Lowline is 271 days which is 11 days shorter than a normal size beef cow.  There is a better chance of the cow having a calf the same time each year using Lowline genetics.

Lowlines have been bred & developed to become very fleshy on just grass & work very well in today’s intensive grazing practices.  Many Lowline breeders experience dry cows that become too fat on just grass.  The smaller size of the cows is also easier on the pastures.

Many cross-breeders & commercial feeders are finding many benefits in using both percentage bulls & cows.  Using a ½ blood cow with a ½ or ¾ bull & you will have a trouble-free, unassisted birth.  The cow is easier to keep as she is not 1500-1600lbs like some of the cows out there today.  The fleshy calf will weigh in well over 50% of his mother’s weight at weaning time & will make a perfect, buyer-friendly finished 1100-1200lb steer in 13-14 months on minimal corn.

The Lowline is the star breed of the hobby/small acreage farmer.  They make wonderful 4-H projects even for the youngest showman.  They are very easy to work with & respond very well (if not thrive) on human intervention.  We easily break/train all of our heifers to lead as calves & therefore all of our vet work is done with a halter instead of a chute.  To work with or move animals between pastures is a breeze with little stress on the animals or people.  Fencing, feeders, & other cattle equipment does not get the abuse with the smaller animals as it does with larger ones.

There has been some talk that Lowlines are simply “dwarf cattle”, but this is not true at all.   Australian Lowlines are genetically “clean” & do not carry the Achondroplasia or Chondrodysplasia (dwarfism) genes which may occur in some other breeds.  By protecting the gene pool, the risk of “throwbacks” is eliminated.  There is no risk of genetic deformity or abortion.  The American Lowline Registry & the Australian Lowline Cattle Association are not prepared to compromise the breed by allowing genetic degeneration.  To register fullblood lowline cattle, calves must have 100% Australian Lowline ancestry verified by DNA matching to their parents.