Lowlines are a small line of cattle, primarily a hobby breed. They are too small to produce adequate income by themselves, but they are easier to handle for a small operation that wants cows more for fun than profit.
Jason Trowbridge Southern Angus Farms Alberta Canada
> I'm looking at buying some Lowline
> cattle and would like to know how
> they compare to other beef breeds.
Lowlines can produce 70% of the ribeye area on 1/3 the feed of animals more than twice their size. This allows a stocking ratio of 2.2 (or more) to 1. The obvious result is that up to 54% more beef may be produced from a given pasture with smaller cattle.
This is the beef that counts -- More Steaks!..more high grade cuts per carcass and less waste.
Ribeye surface area has little to do with actual beef production.
60% dressing percentage on a 500 pound steer is 300 pounds and 60% on a 1000 pound steer is 600 pounds. Packers would rather kill one steer than 2 for the same beef, but usually steers weigh closer to 1200 pounds at slaughter.
2.2 minature steers would weigh 1100 pounds if they made 500 pounds at slaughter. Considering many minature bulls only weigh 6-700 pounds, I doubt a minature steer could make 500 at the same age a regular steer makes 1200 at.
As I said before, great hobby cattle, but not great if you need to earn a living from them.
There is one major flaw in your reasoning. You will not be able to market these animals for a decent price through any of the normal marketing channels (ie. auction barns or feeder buyers) because these animals will not fit in with the rest of the industry. They cannot be fed by the feedlots or processed by any of the major beef plants. This would necessitate feeding them out yourself, custom processing at a local butcher, and direct marketing as the only alternative. If a person is willing to put in the necessary time, effort, and money required to get the name out and sell each animal diectly to the end user, there is a potential to make some good money but not likely on a large scale. If you market the animals this way, what you point out as a major strength (large ribeye size compared to body size) would be an advantage but not in a commercial setting. This is a specialized breed for smaller producers. Keep in mind, though, specialized breed does not mean unprofitable but it does mean not viable on a large commercial scale.