Australian Lowline

Onyx Park Australian Lowline cattle

Lowline cattle were developed as a part of a major research project initiated at Trangie Agricultural Research Centre in 1974 to investigate the implications of selection for growth rate.

Initially, 85 low growth rate cows were selected from the Trangie Angus herd to establish the original "Lowline" herd. These cows were joined to yearling bulls also selected for low growth rate from birth to yearling age. At the same time a high growth rate line (Highline) and a randomly selected line (Controline) were established. This unique experimental method was chosen to generate a rapid divergence in growth rate, through conventional within herd selection, in the shortest possible time.

In the early 1990's "Lowline" were released into industry by the Trangie Research Centre and in 1992 the Australian Lowline Cattle Association (ALCA) was formed.

Lowline cattle are very definitely a beef breed. They are always black, naturally polled and at all stages of their growth are 60% of the size of normal beef breeds. As they stand today, they are generally the smallest breed of beef cattle.

At birth, calves average 15-24kg (37-53 lbs). Their growth rate is very rapid at first, due to the fact that the dams make excellent mothers and provide ample milk, and most double their birth weight during the first six weeks. Mature cows can carry a calf at the teat up until the calf is about 8 months.

At 8 months, the heifers average 110kg (240 lbs) and bulls 140kg (300 lbs). As yearlings, they have increased to about 190kg (420 lbs) for heifers and 230kg (510 lbs) for bulls. Cows at maturity, 3 years, weigh a consistent average of 320kg (710 lbs) in good condition and stand between 95 and 105cm at the shoulder. The equivalent aged bulls, well muscled, top out at over 400kg (880 lbs) and stand between 100 and 110cm at the hip.

Cattle of the herd are naturally docile and very easily handled. The Lowline is the perfect breed for the small acre farmer who can run 10 of these cattle compared with say, 6 Hereford or other similar breed. They are easy care cattle and get into calf easily, calve down and get back into calf with a minimum of fuss.

Very high carcase yields are common for Lowlines and their crosses, demonstrated by the success of Lowline crosses in carcase competitions. Yields as high as 76% have been produced, with the average around 65%. The flesh is tender and well marbled, as a result of their Angus ancestry, and much favoured by the Japanese markets.

Lowline do not carry the Achondroplasia (Dwarfism) gene and therefore there is no risk of genetically generated deformity or abortion. Calving losses are extremely small and even heifers show ease of calving.