Edmonton-area beef producers, the Gotaas family, have recently completed the first export of live beef cattle to the U. K. in nearly two decades.
Big Island Lowlines, based near Sherwood Park just east of Edmonton, recently delivered 10 Lowline heifers to a breeder, Clouds Park Farm, at Salisbury, just southwest of London, England.
Big Island Lowlines is owned by Paul and Arlene Gotaas and their son and daughter-in-law, Darrell and Barbara Gotaas. The Gotaas family has been breeding Lowlines since 2000 and now run a herd of 130 head.
At one time described as miniature Angus, the Lowlines are a registered breed on their own. While their genetic roots come from Aberdeen Angus, the Lowline breed was actually developed in Australia.
“I remember taking a week-old, bottle-fed calf to our first FarmFair show in Edmonton in 2000 and people sort of laughed at it,” says Paul Gotaas. “But they don’t laugh anymore. The breed still has a ways to go, but people are taking it much more seriously.”
The super-efficient breed is gaining ground among commercial cattle producers around the world either in straight-or cross-breeding programs. Easy to handle, mature bulls weigh 1,000 to 1,200 pounds, while cows are in the 800-to 900-pound range. The cattle consume a third to one-half the feed of larger breeds, with carcass yields ranging from 60 to 65 per cent. Research over the years show the Lowline produces up to 155 pounds of finished meat product per acre of grass, compared to Angus at about 100 pounds and Simmental at about 80 pounds.
Exporting cattle to the U. K. doesn’t happen overnight. The U. K. buyer first made contact with the Gotaas family last November. The export cattle had to be held in quarantine for four months to obtain health clearances, and the delivery was finally completed late this spring.
The Gotaases, who have just introduced the first red Lowline to Canada, say more producers are interested in the breed either for cross breeding to bring down the size of some of the exotic livestock breeds, or for specialty meat markets.
AND FOR THOSE ADVENTUROUS DINERS…
Did you hear about the wealthy rancher from Fir Mountain, Saskatchewan who stopped at a local restaurant following a day roaming around in Mexico, last winter?
While sipping his tequila, he noticed a sizzling, scrumptious-looking platter being served at the next table. Not only did it look good, the smell was wonderful.
He asked the waiter, “What is that you just served?”
The waiter replied, “Ah senor, you have excellent taste! Those are called Cojones de Toro, bull’s testicles from the bull fight this morning. A delicacy!”
The Saskatchewan cowboy said, “What the heck, bring me an order.”
The waiter replied, “I am so sorry senor. There is only one serving per day because there is only one bull fight each morning. If you come early and place your order, we will be sure to save you this delicacy.”
The next morning, the Fir Mountain dude returned, placed his order, and that evening was served the one and only special delicacy of the day. After a few bites, inspecting his platter, he called to the waiter and said, “These are delicious, but they are much, much smaller than the ones you served yesterday.”
The waiter shrugged his shoulders and replied, “Si, Senor. Sometimes the bull wins.”
ALWAYS A NICE MEAL AT ILC
You never have to worry what’s on the menu at the International Livestock Congress being held this year August 11 at the Deerfoot Inn and Casino, just off Deerfoot Trail in southeast Calgary.
The day-long conference, which includes a nice lunch, is a great opportunity for beef producers to get a perspective on the “big picture” of the Canadian beef industry. All details are at www.ilccalgary. com
With a focus on “Raising Optimism. Global Strategies.” the 2010 congress features excellent speakers on the economy, the beef industry, U. S./Canada relations and this year a panel on the beef value chain.
Stan Blade, CEO of Alberta Innovates — Bio Solutions, will M. C. the congress, and Alberta Minister of Agriculture, Jack Hayden will deliver an opening message.
Glen Hodgson, senior vice-president and chief economist of the Conference Board of Canada is back again. He delivers a concise and clear message on the current state of the Canadian and world economy.
Rupert Claxton, a consultant from the UK will give an overview of the global beef market, while Chandler Keys of Washington, D. C. will talk about managing beef globally. After lunch, a cross-section of industry people will talk about the beef value change. They include Travis Toews, president of the Canadian Cattleman’s Association and a beef producer from Grande Prairie, Alta.; Brad Wildeman, president of Pound-Maker Agventures, at Lanigan, Sask.; Scott Entz, a VP from Cargill Foods at High River, Alta.; Glen Price, president of Sunterra Quality Food Markets, of Calgary; and James Bo Reagan, a senior vice president with the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, from Centennial, Colorado.
Final speaker of the day is Jeffrey Simpson, Globe and Mail National Affairs Columnist, from Toronto who will have thoughts on the politics and economics of postrecession Canada. An evening barbecue follows at The Ranche restaurant in Fish Creek Park starting at 6 p. m.
For non-farmers cost of full registration is $367.50 if you register before June 25 ($20 more if after that); and for producers and students the registration fee is $183.75 early or late. And the barbecue is $47.25.