Research performed by the U. S. Meat Animal Research Center has shown that crossbred animals express increased efficiency, production, performance & longevity when compared to straight bred animals. To sum that up, if you are wanting to produce beef, it just doesn't make any $ence not to utilize a well planned crossbreding program!
Here at J & K Livestock, our goal is to raise composite Lowline Cattle that have the natural fleshing ability, thickness, and performance to excel in the toughest of commercial environments. Raising & selecting for the type of cattle that can excel on a high roughage diet alone IS NOT a new concept for us. The Tarentaise pair pictured to the left was taken back in the early 1990's. However, our breeding program has been putting an emphasis on natural fleshing ability since the 1980's! We believe that this is the reason why our genetics have worked well for several retail grass fed beef operations in the midwest and also in Kit Pharo's forage bull test (out west). It is also the reason why we believe that they will work well for you too! Not to mention that our cattle are already adapted to high endophyte fescue pasture, our high humidity and our sometimes drastic weather swings.
Back in the early 1980's, our neighbors (Charlie & Joe Baird) began raising low input Tarentaise and Tarentaise composite cattle, on forage alone, without supplemental grain or creep feed. This was not the popular direction to follow at that time. However, Charlie & Joe developed many of their philosophies after closely following the Hatfield's High Desert Ranch / Oregon Country Beef (aka "Country Natural Beef") "Fault Free" Composite program for several years. After our family had watched the Baird's Cattle for a few years, a few Tarentaise cattle were purchased from the Baird's. Shortly thereafter, our family decided to start raising Tarentaise cattle. Many of our original Tarentaise genetics came from the Baird's Tarentaise herd. Our powerful, moderate framed, easy fleshing genetics caught the attention of Kit Pharo, who purchased a black Tarentaise bull, Bluegrass Energizer, from our herd back in the mid 1990's. According to all of the promotional material that we have seen, Bluegrass Energizer has performed very well for Pharo Cattle Company. Bluegrass Energizer reportedly sired the highest gaining forage tested bull (Over 3 lbs. per day!!) in one of the Pharo Forage tests, according to a Pharo Sale Catalog. So, if you want low input cattle that are PROVEN to work in the toughest environments, including Kentucky high endophyte fescue pastures and all over the USA, then you might want to try our genetics. Also, keep in mind that the Tarentaise breed have been developed as grass fed cattle for centuries. This is due to the fact that during the warmer months, Tarentase cattle graze up in the extremely high elevations of the French Alps where grain feeding just is not practical at all. In fact, the region where Tarentaise originate can vary in altitudes from 1,000 feet up to 8,000 feet, and the change in elevation is often very dramatic. Some even believe that Tarentaise graze at higher elevations than any other breed of cattle in the world.
Over the years, we have discovered that while Tarentaise cattle are a leaner breed than Angus, they still have the marbling ability to grade USDA Choice or USDA Prime. Tarentaise typically will "lean up" the more excessive exterior fat (waste fat) off the typically fatter Angus influenced carcasses, resulting in a higher yield of red meat. However, it typically is a very high quality red meat with plenty of marbling (interior fat)! A higher yield means more pounds of meat produced when compared to a lower yielding animal of the exact same weight. The Tarentaise influence will typically provide you with more pounds of high quality meat to sell when compared to a straight bred Angus of identical live weight! If you are selling retail meat this is critical to your bottom line! Any retailer knows that a higher yield of excellent quality red meat = more money that animal will actually make you!
At J&K Livestock, we believe that the Lowline X Tarentaise cross is virtually unbeatable for grass finishing & the best part of that cross may not even be the exceptional beef that results, but the tremendous mother cows that you will end up with!! We must not be the only ones who think so. We've noticed that quite a few breeders all across the United States are now utilizing the Lowline X Tarentaise cross in their operations too. Both cow/calf operations and also grass fed operations. But, the concept of crossing Tarentaise with an English breed like the Lowline Angus isn't something new. It is widely proven to work. Highly successful operations all across the USA like... Oregon Country Beef aka Country Natural Beef, Hatfield's High Desert Ranch, Padlock Ranch, Hole in the Wall Ranch, Pharo Cattle Company, Leachman Cattle Company, Hat Ranch, and many others have used Tarentaise X British Breeds (Angus, Hereford, South Devon, etc.) in their operations. Why? Because the Tarentaise X British Breed composite works extremely well in commercial herds all over the USA & we feel like the Tarentaise X Lowline compsite may be the best combo of all. But none that should be a surprise. The reason why the original importers brought the Tarentaise breed over to North America was with the idea of crossing them with the traditional black baldy. They wanted to make the black baldy even better with an infusion of Tarentaise genetics while maintaining a very similar frame size. So it is no big shock that during the last 30-40 years or so, the combination of Tarentaise crossed with Angus has proven to be extremely hard beat for commercial production all over the USA. Witnessing first hand how well Tarentaise work on full sized Angus cattle led us to experiment with Tarentaise crossed with Lowline Angus. The results have equaled or possibly even exceeded our expectations.
With all that said, if you are thinking about getting into the grass fed beef business, why would you not want to eliminate all of the guess work? Why not buy stacked, proven, predictable genetics from an experienced beef producer like J&K Livestock?
J&K Paprika was one of the very first Lowline X Tarentaise composite heifers that we bred and raised here at J & K Livestock. She was sired by a fullblood Lowline bull and she was born unassisted out of a first calf, Tarentaise heifer. Her actual birth weight was 52 lbs. and her dam actually calved 30 days earlier the following year!! J&K Paprika was only a few weeks old when this picture was taken and she is typical of the quality Lowline X Tarentaise composite cattle that we are striving to raise. J&K Paprika's March 2008 bull calf, J&K Rockin Ronnie (pictured below & to the right) is a 3/4 blood Lowline X 1/4 Tarentaise, has developed into a very nice looking bull. J&K Rockin Ronnie is currently owned by Shaufler Ranch, who run 300+ head of commercial cows, near Sparta, Illinois.
If you like the looks of Paprika, you will love our Lowline X Tarentaise composite calves. At the 2008 NAILE Lowline show, 2 of those 3/4 Lowline X 1/4 Tarentaise heifers, sired by Doc Holliday & exhibited by Megan Pedigo, were named Reserve Champion JR Owned Heifer & Reserve Champion Percentage Lowline Heifer Calf, respectively. A 1/2 Lowline X Tarentaise heifer, also sired by Doc Holliday, was named Reserve Champion Junior Yearling Percentage Heifer at the NAILE Lowline Show. At the 2010 NAILE Lowline Show, Rainy Knob Ranch, Loudon, Tennessee, exhibited a red 50% Lowline X 50% Tarentaise (the dam was raised by us) bull who won Champion Percentage Bull Calf! Our 2010 Lowline X Tarentaise compsite calves were very impressive! Stop by to check them out for yourself! This cross is rapidly gaining a lot of fans!
Half Lowline X half Tarentaise 1st calf heifer grazing with 4 month old half Lowline X Tarentaise baby calves - Tarentaise X Angus females have been a long time favorite of low input, commercial beef producers, all over the United States. Tarentaise females (like the Tarentaise cow/calf pair pictured at the top of the page) are typically moderate framed with picture perfect udders and produce rich milk that is high in butterfat content. In their native French Alps, Tarentaise have been used for centuries as as grass fed dairy cattle, that are milked in order to produce a special cheese. Tarentaise also produce high quality carcasses. When you cross Tarentaise genetics with Lowline Angus Cattle, you end up with an animal that will excel in virtually any commercial environment. Not to mention that they are much more heat tolerant than our Red Angus cattle and Lowlines. These Lowline X Tarentaise heifers make great momma cows and they will raise extremely nice calves. Lowline X Tarentaise steers are making a lot of fans in the grass-finshed beef industry too, just ask Ron Skaggs, Indian Valley Beef, in Tiskilwa, Illinois.
Half Lowline X half Tarentaise cows are the best creep feeder that money can buy!
J&K Superman was named the Grand Champion Percentage Lowline Bull at the 2007 American Royal Lowline Show in Kansas City, Mo. At 11 months of age, this Lowline X Tarentaise bull, passed a breeding soundness exam & had a 38cm scrotal circumference. J&K Superman had an actual birth weight of 64 lbs., a 205 day adjusted weight over 600 lbs. & a yearling frame score of 4.5. Several club calf enthusiasts have favorably compared his phenotype to a deeper sided, smaller framed version of the extremely popular Maine Anjou sire, Irish Whiskey. J & K Superman, is truly is a "super" Lowline X Tarentaise Composite Bull. This undefeated Lowline X Tarentaise Composite should sire calves that will excel in commercial pastures, as well as, in the show ring.
This Lowline X Tarentaise composite bull is SOLD!! Superman and 4 other great composite bulls will be making their new home at RW Farms. Thank you Richard Wahl of RW Farms, Wa Keeney, Kansas!
Lowline Sired Steers Excel!
Lowline bulls, and their Lowline sired offspring, performed very well during a 3 year study conducted by North Dakota State University - Dickinson Research Extension Center. The study concluded that not only do Lowline bulls offer superior "calving ease", Lowline sired calves perform very well in the feedlot & Lowline sired calves will also make money on the rail!
NDSU-Dickinson Lowline Study
Read what the experts are saying about composite cattle...
“It’s time to rediscover crossbreeding.” Dr. Roy Burris, University of Kentucky Extension Beef Specialist
“Recently, I am hearing concern from some very large, progressive producers as their cows become more straightbred in a tough environment. Longevity, rebreeding and calf survivability all become important issues... I don’t think it’s because they have bought the wrong bulls or managed their ranches incorrectly. It’s because they have forgotten or ignored heterosis.” Dave Daley, Associate Dean, CSU-Chico College of Agriculture
"“Heterosis can be used to increase the weight of calf weaned per cow exposed by 20%. Crossbred cows remain in the herd 1.3 years longer and have a 30% greater lifetime production than straight-bred cows.” Dr. Larry Cundiff, Meat Animal Research Center
“Implementation of technologies and systems that both reduce costs and enhance productivity is essential. One of the oldest and most fundamental principles that have a positive influence on accomplishing these goals is crossbreeding.” Scott Greiner, Virginia Tech University Extension Animal Scientist
“Crossbreeding is the one viable efficiency that you can utilize that doesn't cost you more, yet provides you more net revenue.” Bob Prosser, Bar T Bar Ranch, Winslow, AZ
“If you're not crossbreeding, you're leaving 20-25% of production on the table, and that's really hard to make up in premiums.” Bob Hough, North American Limousin Foundation (NALF) Executive Vice President
“Frequently, maternal heterosis (the value of the crossbred cow) is about decreasing inputs as much as it is about increasing output. For example, longevity, livability and disease resistance are traits that impact the input side of the equation as much as the output.” Dave Daley, Associate Dean, CSU-Chico College of Agriculture
“I think the future of crossbreeding is tied to the use of hybrid and composite seedstock. We're seeing momentum in that direction — use of composites for crossbreeding — and when you consider that our meat-animal competitors use only composites in their breeding systems, the handwriting is on the wall.” Wade Shafer, American Simmental Association Director of Performance Programs
Please check back soon as we will be adding more information about our Lowline Composite Cattle!