Lowline crosses?

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Stocker Steve

Well-known member
May 2, 2005
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Central Minnesota
A neighbor bought some full bloods and some crosses 3 years ago. They looked pretty average to me. Now he wants to sell me a select full blood bull to put on my heifers. The bull has a lot of capacity. A couple related questions:

How much smaller calf should I expect from a lowline bull?
Is it just me, or is the lowline capacity and muscling pretty average?
I think a more important question would be what kind of frame will the calves have when you sell them. It goes to marketing. Our buyers (the accursed feedlots) want a large medium to small large calf for feeding. Will the lowline crosses be that size or will they take a beating at sale time?
The way I understand the Lowline calve will be like 45-50 pounds at birth. Crossed maybe 10 pounds heavier.
What do you plan on doing with the calves?
I don't think US cattle buyers and feedlots are ready for smaller carcasses.
I just read an article the other day in a magazine about a ranch in Nebraska that used lowlines crossed with their commercial cows to bring down frame scores and kept the heifer calves as replacements. I can't remember what magazine it was maybe BEEF? You might find it interesting, I'll try and find the article for you.
I agree with Dun. The feedlots really aren't all that demanding; but if you have a load of USDA "small" (3 frame or less) calves and they realize that that is what they are buying (and not just a younger calf) you are going to get hammered. Are your cows too big??? The only people really using Lowlines commercially are doing it to produce a smaller more moderate cow herd. If that is where you want to go with your herd go ahead; but be aware that that might also translate into losing some money on their dink brothers at the sale barn.
How big are your heifers? How big is the lowline bull? I assume he can reach up to breed - amazing how desire gets the job done.

If you cross a frame 0 with a frame 6, the result will be somewhere in between, but you don't get all frame 3's. They might average a 3, but can vary widely in size. Even if you keep the resulting frame 3 heifers, which genes will they pass on - the size 0 or the size 6 or somewhere in between?
We start breeding heifers at about 600 pounds and they calve at 900 to 1,000. Works well with the right bull.
This means we end up with smaller than average cows. Herd average last fall was 1,156 pounds which included some larger cows that go to town this fall.
It seems like my "heavy" cows usually wean average calves - - while the small cows go to both extremes. The better 1,000 pound cows may have a smaller calf at birth but they can still wean a wopper.
I don't need a Lowline bull for 1,000 pound cows but I am tempted to try one on heifers.

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