Breed History

Cromwell’s troops when quartered in Reading, made reference to a locally bred pig renowned for its size and the quality of its bacon and ham. This turned out to be one of the earliest records of the Berkshire breed.

These pigs were larger and coarser than today’s Berkshire. Their colour varied from black to sandy red; they were also sometimes spotted and had variable white patches.

However, the breed was influenced by the introduction of Chinese and Siamese blood, which resulted in the development of the Berkshire we are familiar with today. This is a smaller animal, black in colour, with prick ears, white socks, white tip to tail and flash on face.

Important strides in breed improvement took place between 1820 and 1830, much of which is attributed to Lord Barrington. During the 19th century the breed became very popular, enjoying patronage from the aristocracy, including Queen Victoria.

Its popularity was reflected in the show ring as by 1877, Smithfield offered separate Berkshire classes and during the last 17 years of the 18th century, the breed produced 12 Smithfield champions, including pigs exhibited by members of the Royal Family.

During 1823 the first Berkshire was exported to the USA. This trend continued throughout that century and then at the end of the 19th century, herds were also established in Australia and New Zealand. From that time, and during the first half of the 20th century, the breed grew in popularity reflected by successes at many leading shows.

But, as with all coloured pig breeds, the Berkshire suffered a serious decline in popularity following World War II when the demand for leaner bacon from white-skinned pigs increased and then in the 1960s with the development of breeding companies that favoured white breeds.

However, due to a few loyal stalwarts, the Berkshire survived. Today’s increasing interest in traditional meat produced extensively has renewed interest in the breed. Although it is a coloured breed, the meat dresses out white and, as this is an early-finishing breed, an ideal carcase weighs between 36kg and 45kg.

A number of breeders have developed their own specialised markets for Berkshire pig meat and Berkshire breeding stock are also in demand overseas – especially in Japan – where the breed is very popular and is marketed as Black Pork at a premium price. Japanese buyers still consider Berkshires from Britain to have the best taste and flavour.

There have been six boars imported over the past fifty years from Australia and New Zealand. Semen has also been sourced from USA. These importations of new blood – all descended from the original English Berkshire – as well as grading up three female lines has helped broaden the breed’s genetic base. Today, there are six male and nine female bloodlines available to breeders.

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Korean researcher Han Kyu Cho developed these practices over 40 years ago, and as of 2014 has trained over 18,000 people at the Janong Natural Farming Institute. Hoon Park brought KNF to Hawaii from South Korea where as a missionary, he noticed KNF commercial piggeries with virtually no odor.


The fundamental insight of KNF is to strengthen the biological functions of every aspect of plant growth to increase productivity and nutrition. Biology thereby reduces or eliminates the need for chemical interventions, whether to protect against predation and competition with other plants. For example, IMO metabolism produces complete proteins, while insects prefer incomplete proteins.
KNF avoids the use of waste products such as manure, which reduces the chance of transferring pathogens from the waste back into the food production chain, although in nitrogen-poor conditions adding manure can increase yield.

 Use the nutrients contained within the seeds

 Use indigenous microorganisms (IMO’s)

 Maximize inborn potential with fewer inputs

 Avoid commercial fertilizers

 Avoid tilling

 No use of livestock waste

Effective microorganisms

KNF uses aerobic microorganisms. So-called effective microorganism techniques use predominantly anaerobic organisms.

Indigenous microorganisms

KNF makes use of IMOs to exploit the full potential of the ecosystem in which crops are grown. Potential benefits include increased rates of soil organic matter decomposition,increases in nutrient availability, improved plant yield, a reduced pathogenic microorganisms and an increase in plant defenses.
Beneficial microorganisms can significantly suppress Read more…

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Where did Lowline cattle come from?

Lowlines were developed from a dwarf free herd of 100% Registered Angus, which was established at the Trangie Research Cente in Australia in 1929 to provide quality beef breeding stock for the New South Wales industry. From that early beginning and after decades of selection to moderate frame size came this exciting beef breed we call American Lowlines. See a more thorough history.

Are Lowlines miniature cattle?

No, Lowlines are true beef cattle in a more moderate frame size. They are well proportioned 100% Angus heritage, beef cattle that are naturally polled and docile animals. They have no dwarfism traits and were bred with an emphasis on weight gain and conformation; Lowlines are well suited to beef production on grass and because of their lower maintenance costs, are more efficient converters of grass to meat than today’s larger breeds.

What size are they?

Average size mature cows generally weigh about 650 to 950 pounds and stand from 36 to 42 inches at the shoulder. Average size mature Lowline bulls weigh from 950 to 1350 pounds and stand from 39 to 46 inches. The average birth weight of fullblood calves is 42 to 52 pounds.

Do they calve easily?

Yes, due to the smaller size of a newborn calf, assistance is not generally required at calving time and Lowline cows make excellent mothers.

Do Lowlines require special handling facilities?

No, Lowlines don’t require expensive handling facilities. Being naturally polled and docile, they make for easier handling. They are an excellent choice for those just getting started in the cattle business.

Do they have special feed requirements or environmental limitations?

Lowlines thrive on smaller amounts of feed, whether grass or hay because of their efficient conversion of grass to meat. Lowlines require limited amount of feed and this makes them ideal for smaller acreage and allows for more Lowlines to be stocked in the same area that would support traditional cattle. Rotational grazing more numbers of smaller animals on a property creates more hoof action that is beneficial to implanting seeds to reestablish grasses and legumes in sensitive areas. This makes Lowlines a better choice for riparian areas as well as arid or sandy soils. Being of true Angus, they adapt well to all weather conditions and climates as is demonstrated by the wide variety of Lowline members located in different areas of the country.

What impact can Lowlines make in the commercial industry?

Given their feed requirements for a commercial operation there are less inputs, higher stocking rates and more rib eye area per 100 pounds of carcass weight. A 3 year study, where Lowline bulls were used on commercial heifers, that ended in 2006 by North Dakota State University, Dickinson Research Extension Center came to this conclusion for the commercial industry “The
halfblood Lowline steers average weight for the three year study was 1221 lbs., 51-52 inches at the hip, and brought 92 cents per pound average. “These bulls produce small calves that grow.”

Where can I see Lowline cattle?

Go to the Lowline Breeders page where you’ll find breeders in almost every state. Most members are more than happy to show you their Lowline cattle. On the Events Calendar, you’ll find shows, sales and other events where you can also see Lowline cattle as well as visit with breeders.

What are the benefits of Lowline cattle?

Lowline cattle are easy calving, good natured cattle that are very feed efficient and maintain themselves on grass. They have excellent taste, texture and tenderness beef characteristics and exceptional ribeye area per hundred pounds of body weight which translates to very high yielding, high quality, high value beef carcasses.

Lowlines answer the challenges of both the large scale rancher and the small acreage farmers.

For the large scale ranch operation, Lowlines lower labor and veterinary costs and provide many economic advantages. Commercial heifers bred to Fullblood Lowline bulls calve easily and breed back quickly, reducing the calving interval. Halfblood Lowline cows maintain themselves on about half the feed that is required by a full size Read More…

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Advantages of Australian Lowline Angus Beef Cattle

  • Due to a high stocking rate and higher cutability, Lowlines have proven to produce 95% more retail yield per acre than some popular breeds in American and Australian tests.
  • Lowlines are truly miniature cattle that thrive on limited feed intake; thus, lowering production cost.
  • Lowlines are ideal ranchette and acreage cattle – no big investment in livestock handling equipment is necessary.
  • Lowlines have been selected for small size as well as structural correctness, fertility, early maturity, excellent muscling and strong maternal traits.
  • Lowlines are classified as farm animals and your investment in Lowlines could qualify you for a significant tax credit or Agriculture tax exemption.
  • Hearty Lowlines develop excellent winter haircoats during colder winter months and can withstand cold weather with minimum shelter, even newborn calves.
  • Lowlines slick off to a sleek, shiny, black summer haircoat and adapt well to hot summer weather.
  • Lowlines have a gentle disposition, easy for even youngsters to handle. Lowlines have excellent conformation, would make a great show animal for younger 4Hers or junior projects.
  • Homozygous black and polled.
  • Lowline cattle have 30% larger ribeye area per hundred weight which has shown an increase in boneless retail yield of 25 – 30%. The cuts are smaller but flavor is excellent. They marble higher Read More…

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