Lowline breed pulls off wins at Farmfair

An Idaho ranch won seven titles, and the Premier Breeder award allowed it to represent the breed at the Supreme show

EDMONTON — Diana Lillefloren knows the Lowline breed has come a long way when the traditional cattle breeders start to take a second look at the small breed.

“It is hard to get a compliment out of the big breeders, but they have said, ‘those are some of the best Lowlines I’ve seen’, ” said Lillefloren.

The judge at Farmfair thought so too.

The string of six animals brought from the Idaho Lowlines Cattle Co. won best bull calf, senior bull and supreme bull. In the female category, Idaho Lowlines won best yearling, grand and reserve yearling and supreme female. They were also awarded Premier Breeder.

On Nov. 14, their champion bull and cow represented the Lowline breed in the supreme show, against the top animals from the other breeds.

Not bad for a breeder who started in 2008.

“The Lowline has gained recognition of being a great beef animal,” said Lillefloren of Hayden, Idaho.

The animal is getting a little larger, acreage owners want a small animal, and consumers are looking for a smaller animal to fill the freezer.

The breed originated in Australia and was first recognized as an official breed in Canada in 1998.

It’s their compact stature ideal for small properties and smaller meals that attracted Lillefloren and her husband, Jay, to the breed.

“Everyone is showing interest.”

It takes a lot of work bringing the show cattle from their home in Idaho to Farmfair. The animals must be vet inspected and tested for a series of diseases including tuberculosis and anaplasmosis, all within 30 days of the show.

Permits to cross the border must be acquired and appointments booked at the border to speed the border crossing.

“It takes a lot of money and a lot of time to get here.”

Lillefloren follows a strict breeding program. Any bull or heifer that doesn’t meet her standards is slaughtered and the meat sold at a local farmers market. The rest are sold around North America as breeding stock.

“I slaughter all the uglies and heifers not worth breeding. I don’t want to perpetuate bad genetics,” she said.

Since starting in the business, the Lowline cattle have become taller with more desirable beef. In Australia they have become almost as big as the Angus cattle.

“We need to make sure they don’t get any bigger. That is defeating the purpose,” she said.

Contact mary.macarthur@producer.com

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