EFFICIENCY IN THE FIELD
A Limousin cow raising a calf in West Australia on a diet of hay and bore water. Photo taken in May at the Burnside Stud in West Australia after 6 months with 5 mm rain. This herd is a practical example of the hardiness of the breed and their ability to convert mediocre to poor quality feed into top quality meat.
Limousin in this area range from the larger, later maturing type suitable for the production of heavyweight steers to the more compact, easy fleshing cattle producing vealers and high quality restaurant meat.
It is important to be aware of these differing end-market targets and growth patterns if semen from unsighted cattle is being considered for use in our herds. Ensuring that there is a match between the cattle we breed, what they are being fed and where and for what purpose they are being sold is best done before the herd is mated!
EFFICIENCY IN THE TRIAL SHEDLeft - Young bulls being fed a restricted diet of low quality feed to test for efficiency at Lanaud, France.
The French testing system is an exhaustive one starting with thousands of calves which are progressively screened to select intakes for the testing stations where they are tested successively for growth rate and then efficiency of food conversion using a deliberately low quality feed.
The high index bulls are then test mated using a blind dating scheme so that results are not influenced by any preferential treatment of progeny.
NZ importers and users of semen from these bulls can select from this information and then prove or otherwise their suitability for NZ conditions. Protocols for making this process more efficient are being developed.
NZ Limousin Society members have for many years been testing and screening these bloodlines in their own herds and passing on the successful results to the industry.
HEIFER QUALITY is another LIMOUSIN ADVANTAGE
The two photos show good examples of young Limousin female cattle. Limousin females are rarely seen in weekly sales as many buyers do not appreciate the killing out percentages of these cattle. Ask your nearest Limousin farmer why he sends cattle direct to the works and what the yield is. You will be astonished at the weight of meat an apparently medium sized Limousin produces. At left a young Limousin cow at Totara Farm demonstrates typical Limousin length with nice clean smooth lines through the shoulder and heart girth behind the shoulders. Limousins typically have relatively parallel backline and stomach line. A wide sprung rib cage and the extra body length provide ample volume for the mid-piece. These combinations add up to more back muscle in relation to total body weight. Photographed from a different angle this attractive youngster shows good length from hips to pins and good width across the pin bones indicating pelvic capacity and good shape for calving.
Of course the same features provide a great platform for the typical Limousin rump muscling to develop smoothly without bunching or coarseness of any sort. This leaves the animal an easy and free walking action. Although shaded in this photo we are still able to see a smooth blending withers/shoulders/heart girth. Femininity is retained in spite of the obvious fleshing ability of this animal. Limousin heifers are typically able to kill out at very high percentages comparing favourably with Limousin steers and without putting on the surplus fat often seen on heifers. The National Meat Competitions were dominated by Limousin heifers largely for this reason. - contd next page