We touted miniature Angus cattle, (Lowlines), as
"The cattle of the future" when we imported the first group of breeding heifers to the USA shortly after
the research program in Australia released this new breed. To quote them, we were "Spot on" for our target
market. These were the many small acreages cropping up as a result of the subdivision of larger farms and
ranches and land development. We anticipated additional markets in 4H projects and practical pets. There was
no way we could have predicted the health and economic trends that have greatly enhanced the value and need
for safety, added nutrition, and efficiency in red meat production.
The left over land after building and landscaping offered an ideal home for small easy to manage and profitable
Lowline cattle. Adding to this base was the existence of the large number of small farms looking for an
opportunity to add income and provide some tax relief for their holdings.
No longer will an acreage owner have to sit a lawn mower to control weeds and grass on the un-landscaped
breathing room beyond the house, in the pasture, or on his speculative land. Nor will he have to pay to have
some one else do it for him. Rather the tax advantages of breeding livestock will add to his return from Lowlines
as they mow for him.
With easy to manage, gentle, and easily trained cattle the problem of a small youngster trying to lead an 1100
pound steer into the show ring goes away in a very positive way. This same person does not have to choose a smaller
pig or sheep unless he really wants to do so.
There are many choices for alternative livestock. Some choices have peaked, some are hobby only, and some require
more effort than the value they return. Others are highly speculative. In the following paragraphs, with the help
of some news releases, I hope to convince you that breeding Lowlines works.
Lowline Angus cattle offering seed stock profit, as well as pasture to plate, safe and nutrient dense, beef, grown
naturally, humanely, and more efficiently, on forage only are the top choice. Pardon a complicated way of saying
that nothing can touch them in this niche. You have only to determine if they are correct for you. Here goes.
FORK TRUCKS, PITCHFORKS AND POLITICIANS by Alan Guebert (Farm and Food File). "Time is money-the fastest is the
most profitable. The American public is horrified when the system they allowed the packers to build breaks down as
it did recently in California." Mass production of traditional commercial beef is not without it's hazards. Add in
the facts that we no longer produce all of the processed animals in America. Without labeling there is no source
code. Much of what we now eat is grown under different standards, imported, and lightly inspected. Each new scare
from downer cows, mad cow, and e-coli reinforce the added value of pasture to plate beef. Smaller isolated pastures
free of confined feeding and mixing from many sources with different standards have no need or desire for either
hormones or preemptive antibiotics and avoid these problems. Grass fed cows, have a lower ph balance and therefore
a diminished climate for e-coli growth. The proper genetics also avoids the need of hormones to stimulate growth,
appetite, and size. Ever wonder, why the age of puberty keeps dropping? Commercial beef in itself is probably ok,
but why add to the overall exposure from all the other sources including community water supplies, cosmetics, and
Here's more. TAKING ANTIBIOTICS OUT OF OUR MEAT, government watch. "Congress has decided to weigh in on what your
meat eats. (What effect is their food having on you)? Senators introduced a bill to end the practice of feeding
antibiotics used to cure human illnesses to chickens, cattle, sheep, and pigs. Studies have linked animal use to
increased antibiotic resistance in humans".
Scott Nash, a good, dedicated, general for local Bingham County 4Hers writes, "Raising a steer for the fair has
always been an expensive venture". This year with the cost of feed increases, "the total feed cost will be $551".
This is just the finishing program! Too bad these kids are limited to 1100-pound market animals at fair time.
Lowline steers finish to choice on forage only with back fat in the low 10ths of an inch and rib eye areas per
hundredweight far above large framed cattle. In addition they do this on "natures salad bar" allowing a nutritional
profile commercial beef cannot come close to matching. For example Utah State research shows an Omega3 to Omega6
ratio of + 4:1 for Lowline cross steers on grass only. Salmon and chicken eat your heart out.
Give Mr. Nash kudos because he also has written this. "Historically, the beef industry has not attempted to select
cattle for improved feed efficiency because of the difficulty and expense of measuring feed intake in cattle".
Studies have shown that steers that ate more may have more weight, but the difference may be in the thickness of
the fat not the rib eye area beneath it. Guess what! Lowline Angus researchers addressed this in the 1990s. Feed
to gain ratio is related to genetics, growth, and size. It is a double waste if the size is mostly fat. This is a
waste to the producer in production cost, and to the consumer in price and health values.
At the risk of going on too long please permit me a parting shot. The shrinkage of available land for beef
production will force efficiency. These two articles are an example. DEAL ENDS GRAZING ON FEDERAL LAND NEAR
DUBOIS WYO. "The deal was agreed on to stop conflicts between livestock and predators. Ranchers have agreed to
retire grazing rights on 35,000 acres." FACING CHALLENGES MEANS COLLABORATING. "Idaho was the fourth fastest
growing state. Idaho lost 145,000 acres of range and cropland". Unfortunately, this is common throughout the
country. In summary we will have to do more with what is left if we are to remain food independent.
This is another reason for efficient animals. If you think foreign dependency on energy is a problem, reflect for
a moment on the source of future meals, imported to your plate with foreign control of cost, content, health, and
production standards. For more information on profitable and efficient cattle please visit our web site
Gene R. Kantack