Aberdeen/Lowline Cattle

The Lowline breed originated in Australia. Beginning in 1929, the first Aberdeen Angus ancestors were purchased from Canada by the Trangie research station in New South Wales to improve the Australian Angus herd. The initial seedstock consisted of one cow/calf pair and 17 heifers. In the next few years additional animals were purchased from Scotland, the US and Canada. After 1964 the herd was closed to additional animals and the focus at the Trangie station turned to research. The goal was to establish which size of animals were the most efficient converters of grass to meat. The herd was divided into 3 groups - highline for the high yearling growth rate, Lowline for low yearling growth rate and a randomly selected control group. The original Lowline herd contained 85 cows and remained closed from 1974 until its dispersal in 1992/1993.

The Lowline is smooth and black in color. The breed is naturally polled and has the traditional conformation of a British beef animal. They are naturally docile and have few calving problems. The average Lowline calf is about around 40-50lbs. The cows are excellent mothers. Some advantages of the Lowline include: high feed conversion, longevity, sound feet and legs, docility and Lowline carcass yields have been reported to be between 60 and 70%.

The mature cows are approximately 39-44 inches and 800-1000lbs and the bulls about 44-49 inches and 1000-1400lbs. They are about 60% of the size of an Angus animal today. Most importantly the Lowline breed does not carry any dwarfism (achondroplasia gene).

An experiment was done in the US to assess taking advantage of the calving ease of the Lowline on a commercial cattle herd*. The study looked at a 3 year study and found that only 3 of 125 heifers required minor calving assistance. The half blood steers were sent to commercial feedlots and as long yearlings averaged 945lb and they finished on average at 1200 lbs.

The Lowline animals stabalized with a size about 30% smaller than the high line group. The research showed that the Lowline animals had the highest feed efficiency of all the groups.