THE LIMOUSIN BREED
Limousin cattle originated in the Limoges region of France which is a hilly area experiencing relatively harsh winters. Limousin share with Jersey and the bos indicus breeds the ability to comfortably graze in full sun, a big advantage over the British breeds.
Limousin is an ancient breed which before 1840 was kept under poor conditions being poorly fed, used as beasts of burden and sources of manure for the fields.
It has since then become a premier producer of quality beef, winning countless meat yield, tenderness, blind tasting and meat quality competitions.Most of these contests have lapsed through lack of opposition by other breeds! In recent years the rules in NZ have been altered to eliminate the unbeatable Limousin advantage, the yield factor. This levels the playing field a little. Paradoxically this has been good news for Limousin as it keeps the other breeds interested!, we still win more than our share, and this free Limousin publicity continues!
(In 2003 Limousin was 2nd, 3rd, & 4th in the continental section and in 2004 1st & 4th)
THE LIMOUSIN BULL TRIALS
Breeders from throughout New Zealand run bulls together for a year from weaning to sale the next winter. At present trials are run by the North Island Limousin Breeders Society (previously named CNI) and also by the South Island Group. This exercise has developed from the early emphasis on weight gain to become a New Zealand leader in the presentation of naturally reared, minimally handled bulls selected and measured for a wide range of commercially relevant characteristics. The knowledge gained and shared by breeders participating is not only in improvement in quality particularly in feet and temperament in the trial bulls, but also in lifting the general standard of New Zealand Limousin.
All full members of LimousinNZ are eligible to enter bulls in these enterprises subject to the rules as administered by the Bull Trial Committees
New Zealand and Australian Limousin breeders combine to produce a usefully large pool of data for Limousin Breedplan.
For participation in breedplan, breeders submit measurements - usually birthweight, 200 day weight, 400 day weight, 600 day weight, calving dates, docility ratings and where possible gestation length.
BREEDPLAN is a genetic evaluation system for beef cattle breeders. It is based in Australia, with clients worldwide.
BREEDPLAN offers bull breeders the potential to accelerate genetic progress in their herds, and to provide objective information on stock they sell to commercial breeders.
BREEDPLAN calculates Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) for a range of traits including: (Traits underlined are those normally evaluated in New Zealand cattle)
Days to Calving
Eye Muscle area
200, 400 and 600-day weight
Mature cow weight
Meat Yield %
Included in the calculation of EBVs are the animal’s own performance, the performance of known relatives, the heritability of each trait and the relationship between the different traits combining all traits in one analysis.
"PURITY" is a relative term
The black and polled Aberdeen Angus for example has been selected from a multicoloured mainly horned breed
The Hereford was once a solid coloured red with the white added from a cross with a neighbouring breed (and was until quite recently horned)
The Shorthorn breed is a comparitively recent "fix" of genetics
The Murray grey is later again
Simmental has many regional variations included
The Friesian had a Shorthorn cross to add beef qualities and the Milking Shorthorn had Friesian added to increase milk yield!
Limousin has a variety of designated degrees of "purity(not particularly scientific or genetically accurate but may serve a purpose !
"Full French Limousin" of course includes various genes added in France over the years from other French local breeds and the English Durham (shorthorn progenitor).
THE POLLED FACTOR
All cattle breeds were originally horned. Some breeds such as the Angus became polled as breeders noticed that chance polled animals were safer and easier to handle without the chore of dehorning.
Other breeds either bred from the occasional sport or incorporated the polled gene by a programme of crossing and importing the desired gene into the breed.
Five or six generations of crossing back to the original breed produces a virtually purebred animal with a polled head.
Limousin have a proportion of polled cattle bred this way.
THE POLLED FACTOR
For our purposes we shall say that the two factors in a polled/horned gene are P for polled and p for horned The P factor is dominant
This means a polled animal may be either heterozygous or homozygous
"Double Polled" means that both parents are polled.
Genetically this can mean one of three things
If a "double polled" bull has - 2 heterozygous parents and is polled then there is a 1 in 3 chance that he is homozygous polled.
If a "double polled" bull has - 1 homozygous polled parent and 1 heterozygous then there is a 1 in 2 chance that he will be homozygous polled.
If a "double polled" bull has - 2 homozygous polled parents he will always be homozygous polled.
In the summary below -
pp = Homozygous horned
Pp = Heterozygous polled
PP = Homozygous polled
Bull X Cow = progeny
1. pp X pp = pp pp pp pp
2. Pp X pp = Pp Pp pp pp
3. Pp X Pp = PP Pp Pp pp
4. PP X pp = Pp Pp Pp Pp
5. PP X Pp = PP PP Pp Pp
6. PP X PP = PP PP PP PP
as numbered above
1. Horned bull / horned cow gives all horned
2. Heterozygous bull over horned cow gives - 50% Hetero Polled 50% Horned
3. Heterozygous bull over heterozygous cow = 25% Homo polled 50% Hetero polled 25% Horned
4. Homozygous polled over horned cow = 100% Heterozygous polled
5. Homozygous polled over heterozygous polled = 50% Homo polled 50% Hetero polled
6. Both parents Homozygous polled = 100% Homozygous polled
Introducing Limousin contd. next page