All breeders sing the praises of “their” breed. In making our decision we weighed all the positive claims made by various people and have since found that the following characteristics are indeed true for lowline cattle – at least all those we have met!
Ease of handling
Small size (bulls around 110 cm tall and cows about 100 cm) and docile natures make these cattle easy on fences and you! Good temperament is a feature of the breed. We often move newborns to the yards for protection and to do this simply carry them and their mothers follow along behind. Not all breeds would allow you to do this!
We have found they respond well to electric fencing and mustering here usually involves calling the cattle and they come to you. This does require you to spend some time with the cattle in the paddock but this is not an onerous task.
Provided they are treated with respect due to all stock, they are suitable for kids, retirees and everyone in between. As they are derived from Angus cattle, in all aspects of management and husbandry they are similar to other cattle breeds. Vets and feed suppliers are familiar with their requirements.
They will require vaccination, worm control and fly and tick control similar to all other breeds. We are more than happy to advise on these requirements on an ongoing basis and there is an effective network of promotion groups and breeders throughout Australia to provide support as needed.
Small acreage viability
Lowline cattle are about 60% of the size of their Angus forebears and more of them can be run on any given area. We certainly run more head here than we could of, say, Brahmans. But this is not a reflection of the amount of beef produced. Lowlines have short legs – which in the beef industry are dog bones! Dressed weight compared to live weight is high. We processed a Santa Gertrudis steer and a Lowline cross steer at the same time. They differed in height by almost 30 cm and live weight by 30 kg. Dressed weights i.e. saleable meat, differed by only 3 kg.
The success of Lowline crosses in carcase competitions is added evidence of this. And the production of beef per acre is better than most conventional large breeds.
In addition lowline beef is quality beef. We have most of our herd Genestar tested for tenderness, marbling and feed efficiency. This is a good indicator of the meat quality. Check out the results for our animals listed in the For Sale and Herd Profile sections.
This quality combined with higher stocking rates, shorter gestation periods, early maturity and finishing on grass maximises the return from a Lowline herd on smaller acreages.
All Australian Lowline cattle are naturally polled and have no horns. So there is no need to dehorn calves. Oh, and they don’t carry the achondroplasia or dwarfism gene found in some other small breeds which can lead to the loss of calves and stillbirths.
Fertility and longevity
Lowline cattle breed and calve easily. The bulls have high fertility, heifers are usually joined at 14 months and have calves on the ground by the time they are two years old. The cows are good mothers, often able to produce well into advanced ages. One of our cows had two calves in one year, one in January and the one in December, and is currently pregnant with her next calf due shortly. It is normal for cows to calve every year as they have a shorter gestation period than other cattle (273 days).
Lowline bulls and semen are used in increasing quantities for heifers in both the dairy and beef industry to provide low birth weight calves that do well in the saleyard. Easy calving and a saleable product are bonuses for these cattle producers.
In addition there are several cross breeds gaining acceptance for beef producers wishing to improve meat quality, to compete in carcase competitions and to give hybrid vigour to their herds including high feed conversion and carcase yields.
Breed uniformity, conformation and DNA testing
Unlike most other breeds, when you purchase a Lowline you can be guaranteed of the parentage of the animal as all offspring are DNA tested and parentage verified. In addition all registered Lowlines are from a closed stud book i.e. there is no breeding up from other cattle breeds or percentage registrations.
This leads to a uniform type with sound structural characteristics and very few defects, a pure beef breed. The selection criteria used for the original herd allowed a good genetic base for potential future adaptation and improvement.