BREEDERS SOCIETY AND REGISTRY ®
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BY GENE KANTACK - IMCBS BREED REGISTRY CHAIRPERSON FOR THE MINIATURE LOWLINE ANGUS BREED
Lowlines are relative newcomers to America. The first breeding animals were imported in the mid to late 90's. Their arrival, and the valuable research by Professor Richard Gradwohl in developing new breeds, some of which are based on them, has spawned a tremendous rebirth of interest in smaller cattle. It may not be a coincidence that traditional ranchers are just now scrambling to reduce frame size in an effort to capture the bonuses offered for smaller carcasses, and to woo back a disgruntled part of the public that switched to alternatives at the rate of 6% a year, because they could not consistently get the beef they wanted. As available land for agriculture decreases, while the price increases, efficiency and select marketing will have to take up the difference in order for these practices to remain profitable. Small and efficient breeds, marketed direct, and finished on the farm, are the answer.
It does not matter what your reason for owning miniature cattle is, Lowline Angus should be a factor in your decision. Of 12 new recent breeds developed at the Miniature Cattle Research Facility at Happy Mountain® Farm by Professor Gradwohl, more than half of them have been based on the Lowline Angus, and there are more to come. Why, because Lowlines are the result of a long term research study by the Australian government in a search for quality. Profitability and quality were the goal, while the size was the coincidental outcome.
Profitability must be viewed as a multifaceted goal. The addition of these factors gives the returns needed to make them valuable. This means that they must for most markets be easily managed, fertile, hardy and of high and consistent quality (breed true).
They make ideal pets and hobby animals. Their lack of horns, even temperament and trainability make them safe and enjoyable for all ages. Several have gone to petting zoos. The smaller sizes being developed will increase their place in this area.
Lowlines have a strong place in the market for 4H, show, and excellent beef at a profit. They develop rapidly and well on grass alone, and consume 1/2 to 1/3 of the feed of a full sized animal. The ultrasounds of the beef produced is outstanding. Lowlines cross positively with all other breeds. The positive heterosis will lead to better beef in the future.
Given the small numbers of Lowlines available, the real market is and will be seedstock for some time to come. With something to give to anyone desiring a miniature bovine, it will be a long time before the needs of semen, embryos, and live animals is met.
At present there is work on some smaller animals, and additional cross breeds. The "Jerline", is a cross with the Angus and standard Jersey shows promise as a free ranging vealer, and the triple cross of standard Jerseys, Red Angus, and Lowlines; (JEREALS), may be the answer to a troubled dairy industry by adding value to their male offspring.
The future of Lowlines as both a basic breed in it's own right, and as a new tool in the cattle market is exciting. Their quality, consistency, profitability and versatility will insure their future.
Gene Kantack with his 1st place Winter Bull