Why Limousin?

 

"Feedlot success with Limousin"

Kingsley and Eileen Bristow annually mate 100 Murray Grey breeders and until 1992 50% went to Limousin and 50% to Murray Grey bulls.

"It became evident that the Limousin cross were beating the pure bred cattle in growth rate and muscle to fat ratio so in 1993 we changed 100% to Limousin bulls and now buy in Murray Grey replacement heifers" Kingsley said.

The entire calf drop is grain fed for about 100 days with calves leaving the feedlot at 13-14 months of age and 215-225kg.

In June 1994, 82 of the Limousin/Murray Grey cross - 55 steers and 27 heifers - sold on CALM to Woolworths for a record-breaking 312.5c/kg dressed on farm.

They averaged 234.7kg dressed weight, 57% dressing percentage, 8.5mm fat depth and according to Woolworths boned out at 77.5%, well above the average of 73%.

"They're a magnificent breed for increasing performance and returns - we bought another 68 head for the feedlot last year and wouldn't consider anything that wasn't Limousin cross", Kingsley said.


"Maternal advantages with Limousin"

Blair Wilding's father Tom was one of the first in WA to use Limousin genetics with the importation of Canadian and British semen in 1974

Initially it was the breed's carcase attributes which attracted him, but over the years their maternal abilities and easy care nature have further enforced their role in profitable beef production.

The Wildings now run 220 Limousin and Limousin/Angus beef breeders.

"Cattle are an important component of our mixed farming enterprise and Limousin, because of their calving ease and market acceptance, ensure maximum returns", Blair said.

With the exception of 30 females retained annually as replacements, all calves are maintained on hay and pasture for 12 months before entering the Wildings' own feedlot at 20-24 months of age.

Steers and heifers from the feedlot are marketed liveweight (about 450-480kg) through Midland saleyards in July/August and given the Limousin's cutability and high yield, attract premium prices (up to 202c/kg in 1994).

Regular buyer John Roediger say the "heavier weights increase processors' cost efficiency, but this can only be achieved with top quality, well muscled carcases such as those produced by the Wildings".


"Price premiums with Limousin"

For "calving ease", Mario and Stephanie Camarri of Nannup use Limousin bulls over Friesian/Angus 1st calver heifers in their 575 head predominantly vealer producing enterprise.

The Limousin cross are weaned in mid-December (late March calving) and those that will dress at 180kg or better, usually about 25% comprising roughly equivalent numbers of steers and heifers, marketed direct to the abattoirs.

"We have been receiving 10-15c/kg premium above other breeds for our Limousin sired calves", Mario said.

"They are so well muscled and allow greater marketing flexibility".

Remaining steers are grassfed before being sold at two years of age to export processors while remaining heifers have been sourced by local feedlotter John Fry up to 320kg liveweight. John happily pays up to 3c/kg liveweight premium for the Camarri Limousin cross (about $8.30/head) above their other European cross calves due to the Limousin's outstanding dressing percentage'

"My feedlot average is 54% but I can always count on the Limousin to dress out at 55-56% and they yield better too", John said. "The Ccamarris only invest in top quality bulls and as a feedlotter I reap the benefits of this".


"Crossbreeding with Limousin"

Blythewood Pastoral Co. is a partnership involving brothers Geoffrey and Leigh McLarty and their father Hugh.

For over 100 years predominantly Shorthorn cattle have been run, but four years ago Limousin were introduced over a portion of the 500 head breeder herd.

Resulting steer progeny have been marketed abattoir direct at 18 months off grass while heifer progeny have been snapped up by feedlotters until last year when the McLartys decided to have them custom fed.

"Fed for between 70 and 90 days, they showed excellent conversion rates and averaged 205kg dressed at just 14 months", Geoffrey said.

That's the beauty of Limousin. Heifers are just as marketable as steers and the breed really boosts the muscling and eye muscle size", added Leigh.

The McLarty's Limousin/Shorthorn cattle have been described by meat buyers as one of the most outstanding crosses available.

At the 1995 Waroona show one of their steers was awarded reserve champion carcase in a field of 34 head, beaten only by another Limousin cross entered by Goodchilds.