Lowline cattle are an incredible cow breed that has gained recent prominence and popularity. We have a soft spot for these cows, as we have been raising Lowline cattle for five years.
They are a hardy breed that you can raise almost anywhere in the world. They have other perks, too, as their calm temperament, small size, and feed conversion ratio make them perfect cattle for small-scale homesteaders and farmers.
Lowline Cattle are mini Angus cows that don’t carry the gene for dwarfism. This means there is ‘no risk of genetically generated deformity or abortion’ (source).
So, let’s learn more about these fantastic farmyard creatures. I’ll tell you all about the size, cost, and origins of mini Angus Lowline cows, then go into the pros and cons of raising them. By the end, you’ll see why they’re our favorite cattle for our homestead – and why they might be the best cows for you, too!
Sound good? Let’s jump right in!
- All About Lowline Cattle
- The Origins Of Lowline Cattle
- How Big Are Lowline Cows?
- What Do Lowline Cows Look Like?
- Where Can You Raise Lowline Cows?
- Are Lowline Cattle Profitable?
- How Much Meat Is Half a Cow? [Weight, Cost, and Storage Guide!]
- How Many Lowline Mini Angus Cows per Acre?
- How Many Cows Per Acre Can You Keep In Your State?
- The Pros and Cons of Lowline Cattle
- The Advantages of Raising Lowline Cattle
- How Long Do Cows Live on Your Homestead [Beef and Dairy 101]
- 13 Best Beef Cows for Beginners – Selecting the Right Breed for Your Homestead
- The Disadvantages of Raising Lowline Cattle
- Final Thoughts
All About Lowline Cattle
Before we jump into the specifics of this fantastic mini Angus breed, let’s talk about the origins, size, distribution, and appearance of Lowline cattle.
The Origins Of Lowline Cattle
The Lowline breed developed in the 1970s in Australia through a selective breeding program. It all started when Aberdeen Angus cattle got imported from Scotland to establish a foundation herd of cattle with a high feed conversion rate.
After developing the Lowline breed, the researchers auctioned off their cattle in the 1990s, starting the first Lowline herds in Australia. After that, people worldwide heard about these low-maintenance, hardy, and sweet cows and imported them to their respective countries.
While there still aren’t too many Lowline cattle out there, the numbers increase every year, and, with all the advantages of this mini Angus Heritage breed, we wouldn’t be surprised to see them more and more as time goes on.
How Big Are Lowline Cows?
One of the distinguishing characteristics of Lowline cattle is their compact size.
Lowline cattle are known as a true miniature breed, standing around 3 to 4 feet tall at the shoulder. Despite their diminutive stature, they have a robust build and impressive muscle structure, with fully mature females weighing around 710 lbs and bulls weighing about 880 lbs.
Because of their smaller height, Lowline cattle are exceptionally well-suited to small farms and homesteads.
However, with their stocky build, you can expect a large amount of rich meat from these cows.
What Do Lowline Cows Look Like?
Lowlines are primarily black, resembling their Aberdeen Angus ancestors. However, occasionally, you may find red or brindle-colored individuals as well.
This breed has a smooth, sleek coat, which helps them adapt to various climates, making them well-suited for different regions.
Where Can You Raise Lowline Cows?
Thanks to their coats – Lowline cattle can withstand hot and cold weather with few issues. So you can raise them in many countries without fuss.
You can raise Lowline Cattle in Canada, the USA, Australia, the UK, China, and New Zealand, among other regions. These cows are stocky and hardy, which means they can do well in colder and warmer climates.
As discussed above, Lowline cattle were initially bred in New South Wales, Australia, which is how they got the name Australian Lowline.
However, following the experiment that resulted in Lowline cattle, many people in the USA, Canada, and New Zealand have raised the cows successfully.
The cattle from these countries are no longer Australian Lowlines. But they are called American Lowline, Canadian Lowline, New Zealand Lowline Cattle, etc. There are even a few herds of Hawaiian Lowlines out there!
Are Lowline Cattle Profitable?
Yes! Definitely. Lowline cattle are among the most profitable breeds since they need less feed to thrive than most larger beef breeds. Additionally, Lowline cattle have a high feed conversion ratio, converting their feed to marbled meat much faster and more efficiently than most breeds.
According to an in-depth study from the University of Wyoming, the average cost to purchase, raise, and butcher one Lowline Steer is approximately $737.61.
However, feeding a pastured Mini Lowline Angus cow costs around $60 annually. Then, feed costs about $30 a month for each steer or cow.
If you choose to sell calves, you can expect to make back around $400 to $800. So, by selling calves, you can surely at least break even, if not make a profit from each calf.
Then, there’s meat. How much beef your cattle produce will depend on their age when butchering. However, Lowline cattle have a high dressing percentage of 60%, which means that 60% of your cow’s weight will be edible. That meat can go for $10 to $20 a pound, which makes these cattle very profitable.
When we bought our Lowline cows, the farmer told us the motto of the Lowline is ‘grow meat, not bones’!
How Many Lowline Mini Angus Cows per Acre?
You may be able to have one Lowline Angus cow per acre, but in some cases, you’ll need more space per cow. Generally, we advise two to three acres per 1,000-pound female cow and calf. So, to be safe, we recommend only having one cow per two acres, even if you are raising Lowline mini cattle.
Since Lowline cattle are smaller than average, you may get away with stocking more cattle per acre when raising Lowline. However, we don’t usually recommend it.
A pasture has to be rich in forage and grass for your cattle to stay healthy. So, if your 10-acre field is not producing grass, your cows won’t have enough space!
For that reason, calculating cows per acre is trickier than it seems, so we wrote a detailed guide on the subject:
It’s always best to consult with your local agricultural extension services or experienced cattle farmers to determine the appropriate stocking rates and grazing management practices for your land and the specific conditions in your region.
Depending on the availability and quality of pasture, it may be necessary to supplement grazing with additional feed such as hay or silage, particularly during periods of low forage availability, winter months, or drought conditions.
The Pros and Cons of Lowline Cattle
Now that we know all about the size, history, and appearance of Lowline cattle, let’s delve into the benefits and advantages of raising these mini Angus cows.
The Advantages of Raising Lowline Cattle
Raising Lowline cattle has many advantages, especially for small-scale homesteaders who don’t have much land to work with.
The advantages of raising lowline cattle include that they produce delicious meat, are easy keepers with a calm and friendly temperament, and are hardy in many climates.
However, there are even more good things to say about mini Angus Lowline cattle!
They are as follows.
Lowline Cattle Have High-Quality Angus Meat
One of the main reasons Lowline mini Angus cattle have gained popularity is their excellent meat quality. They are known for their tender, well-marbled beef. And their beef is highly sought after by chefs and consumers alike.
Lowline cattle meat, according to experts at Michigan State University, is called Lowline Boutique Beef, and it fetches premium Angus prices.
Lowline Cattle Don’t Need Much Feed To Thrive
Another advantage of Lowline cattle is their efficiency in converting feed into meat. Due to their smaller size, they require less feed than larger cattle breeds.
Lowline cattle also excel on grass-based diets. They can thrive on pasture alone, making them well-suited for grazing systems and environments with ample grazing resources. Their small size and grazing efficiency make them perfect for sustainable and environmentally friendly farming practices.
Their grazing efficiency means lower feed costs for farmers – always a good thing!
The Complete Guide to Raising Small Animals by Carlotta Cooper is an excellent farmyard reference for any homesteader working on a small ranch or farmstead. The book details essential tips for raising small animals - including cows, sheep, ducks, geese, rabbits, goats, and chickens. Topics include buying your animals, housing and feeding them, humanely raising meat, and also keeping them as pets.
Lowline Cattle are Miniature Cattle, Not Dwarf Cows
Some small cattle breeds carry the gene for dwarfism, which puts the cattle at risk for many different health conditions, such as hormonal disorders, respiratory system deformities, and other issues.
However, miniature-ism doesn’t pose any risk to cattle.
Lowlines have reputations as a stable breed, meaning they consistently reproduce their desirable traits and characteristics across generations. This genetic stability allows breeders to produce Lowline offspring with predictable and consistent attributes.
For that reason, you can expect Lowline cattle to lead long and healthy lives. Additionally, under normal conditions, they won’t need too much extra health care or nurturing to thrive on a homestead.
Lowline Cattle are Generally Very Friendly
Additionally, the docile nature of Lowline cattle makes them easy to handle, even for inexperienced farmers. They have a calm temperament, making them ideal for small farms, hobby farmers, or families looking to raise cattle.
For that reason, Lowline Mini Angus cattle are particularly famous among 4-H-ers.
Lowline Cattle are Hardy
Lowlines are small – but mighty. They can be found not only in Australia but also in various countries around the world. Their adaptability and versatility have made them a favorite among farmers in different climates and regions.
Lowline Cows are Naturally Polled
Another advantage of Lowline cattle is that they are naturally-polled animals. That means that these cows do not grow horns.
The fact that Lowline cattle do not have horns is a benefit for many reasons. For example, horned cattle may get stuck in hay feeders, fences, and stalls, which can cause harm to your cows.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of polled cattle and discover more about cow horns, you might find this article helpful:
Lowline Cows are Great Mothers
Lowline cattle have superb fertility rates, and cows can calve easily due to their smaller size. For that reason, some farmers use Lowline bulls when breeding younger cows of other breeds so that the calf is small and easier to deliver.
Lowline cows also have a relatively long reproductive lifespan, and their calves are typically small at birth.
On top of that, Lowline cattle generally make markedly good mothers due to their strong maternal instinct and calm, even, friendly temperament.
All that adds up to say: these cows are some of the easiest to breed!
The Disadvantages of Raising Lowline Cattle
Now, let’s take a moment to talk about some of the challenges of raising Lowline cattle.
This Small Breed Offers Less Meat Than a Full-Size Cow
While their smaller size is advantageous in many ways, they also have lower overall meat yields than larger breeds. However, this often gets compensated by the premium price their high-quality beef commands in the market.
It’s Difficult to Find Lowline Bulls for Breeding
Another challenge can arise when it comes to breeding. We have found that Lowline bulls, or small bulls of a different breed, can be hard to find. The smaller size of Lowline cattle means they cannot breed with a regular-sized bull.
Despite the challenges, the rewards of raising Lowline cattle far outweigh the difficulties. Their unique characteristics, adaptability, and meat quality make them desirable for livestock enthusiasts worldwide.
As always, thank you for reading! Take care, and happy farming!
Learn More About Lowline Cattle:
- Australian Lowline Cattle Association (ALCA)
- The American Aberdeen Association, which used to be the American Lowline Association
- Australian Lowline Cattle | Oklahoma State University
- Miniature Cattle for Real, for Pets, and Production | University of Nebraska Lincoln