The Breed

Breed History

Lowline cattle are a pure Australian breed of cattle which were developed at the Australian government’s Trangie Research Centre in New South Wales. The original cattle were purchased from an Aberdeen Angus seed stock producer in Canada in 1929. For the next 35 years, top purebred Angus cattle from Scotland, Canada, and the United States, were brought into the herd. In 1964, the research centre closed the herd to outside animals and 10 years later began to research three distinct growth rates within the herd; one with high yearling growth rates, one with low yearling growth rates, and one control group. The Australian government began a detailed evaluation of weight gain, feed intake, reproductive performance, milk production, carcass yield and quality, and structural soundness. Through 20 years of research, the Low lines were found to be extremely efficient in their protein conversion while being able to maintain the other desired research outcomes. Interest in the smaller animals was great, and a new breed,”Lowline” was created. The Lowline herd was released onto the Australian market in 1992, and came to North America in 1996.

Lowline Characteristics

Lowline cattle possess many traits that help them excel in today’s cattle industry. They are naturally polled, black in colour, small framed, easy calvers, docile, and exhibit rapid early growth with moderate mature growth rate. Lowline have superior carcass qualities. The carcasses have less back fat and have superb marbling. The meat is tender and tasty. The smaller cuts of meat are desirable in today’s market.A mature Lowline bull stands approximately 42 inches at the shoulder and weighs approximately 1100-1400 pounds. Lowline bulls are muscular, virile, and have a strong libido, while displaying a gentle temperament. A mature Lowline cow stands approximately 39 inches at the shoulder and weighs approximately 800-900 pounds. Lowline cows are natural mothers and provide ample milk. They have a breeding history of regular calving and calving ease. Calving losses are extremely low. Lowline calves average 40-45 pounds. They double their weight by six weeks of age. Lowline calves are vigorous and healthy, and are up and running very shortly after birth. At one year of age, Lowline females weigh in the 450-500 pound range while one year old bulls weigh in the 550-650 pound range.Lowlines do not carry the Achondroplasia Dwarfism gene; they are bred to be the manageable size that is the defining breed characteristic.

In some cattle breeds, such as the Angus and thus the Lowline, the coat colour is either black or red. The most popular and common colour depends on the country and location in the world. Due to being more sun and heat tolerant (resistant to eye and udder damage), red is the most prevalent cattle colour worldwide. The number of Lowlines having been established to be carrying the recessive red allele (e) or recessive red wild-type allele (E+) as opposed to the dominant black (ED) allele is still limited. As a result, certain breeders have made a special effort to develop the best quality of red Lowlines by joining animals with the colour causing gene having the different red allele, red wild-type allele and black allele combinations.

Why Should You Consider Lowlines?

Lowline cattle combine many desirable traits which appeal to the large ranch operations, the small acreage farmer and the beef consumer.

In large ranch operations, Lowlines can lower labour costs and provide many economic advantages. Commercial heifers bred to a Lowline bull calve easily and breed back quickly, reducing calving interval. A 1000-1200 pound heifer will produce a calf weighing 60-80 pounds. The calves are born small, aggressive and have rapid early growth. Lowline cross animals reach slaughter requirements compatible with other breeds on roughly 1/3 to 1/2 less feed, and will wean more pounds of calf per acre. Big Island Lowlines has been successfully crossing with Galloway, Angus and Simmental. Big Island Lowlines has sold bulls to cattlemen wanting to downsize their herd, and subsequently their feed bill and calving losses.

Lowline and Lowline-cross carcasses yield between 62-66%. The beef is tender, tasty, and well marbled. The cuts are smaller, which is desirable in today’s beef consumer market. Private beef sales have been a very successful aspect of Lowline and Lowline cross operations in Canada. Lowlines are naturally raised.

Lowline cattle are a natural choice for the small acreage farmer. Their manageable size makes them easy keepers. They are easy on the environment, maintaining themselves on grass, and requiring minimal handling facilities. Their docile temperament makes them easy and a pleasure to manage.

The future is promising for Lowline cattle. The Canadian Lowline Cattle Association is committed to maintaining genetic purity and breed integrity, and requires DNA parentage verification on all fullblood Lowlines.

Why Should You Consider Lowlines?

– More dollars per acre
– Less overhead for fencing
– Quality meat
– Able to marble off grass
– Carcasses produce higher than average yield
– Less bone, more meat
– Low birth weight, fast early growth rate, moderate mature growth rate
– Increase your live births
– Reduce your feed bill
– Benefit from the original Aberdeen Angus genes