Limousin beef 'best kept secret'

Jenny and Colin Phillips, of Tuatapere, have the Fernhill Limousin stud and recently won the ``on the hook'' section of the Otago Southland Beef competition in July. Their Limousin steer weighted 335.2kg and had a ribeye area of 142sq cm. Photo: Yvonne O'
Jenny and Colin Phillips, of Tuatapere, have the Fernhill Limousin stud and recently won the ``on the hook'' section of the Otago Southland Beef competition in July. Their Limousin steer weighted 335.2kg and had a ribeye area of 142sq cm. Photo: Yvonne O'Hara
Limousins tend to be medium-sized and fine-boned, which meant they yield well, but they are an under-appreciated breed by farmers, says breeder Colin Phillips, of Tuatapere.

''There is a very high percentage of meat and they are efficient feed converters with not a lot of fat,'' Mr Phillips said.

''There is a lot of saleable meat on them and some of the bulls we send to the works are yielding up to 67% liveweight to on hook.''

He and wife Jennifer entered a Limousin steer to the Otago Southland Beef competition in Gore in July, and won the overall ''on the hook'' section.

Their steer weighed 335.2kg and had a ribeye area of 142sq cm.

The competition was held at the Gore's Charlton saleyards ''on the hoof' and ''on the hook' at the Alliance plant, Mataura on July 24.

Fernhill Limousin stud bulls produce progeny that are high yielding, have a high percentage of meat and high value cuts and are efficient feed converters. Photo: Phillips
Fernhill Limousin stud bulls produce progeny that are high yielding, have a high percentage of meat and high value cuts and are efficient feed converters. Photos: Phillips
Evan Ferris was second with a Limousin and Lindsay and Jo Bowmar were third with their Limousin/Limousin-cross.

Rob and Jean Johnstone placed first in class 1 with their Limousin heifer, while Judy Miller and Clark Scott were second, also with a Limousin heifer.

Ross and Bridget Lowery were third with a White Galloway steer.

Mr and Mrs Johnston were also first in the class 2 and Judy Miller and Clark Scott were second and third, all with Limousins.

Andrew Law, of Castlerock, won the ''on the hoof'' competition with an Angus/Angus Hereford-cross steer.

Mr and Mrs Phillips have been breeding Limousins for 28 years and they consider docility to be a key trait.

Limousins produce small calves with low birth weights, which mean they are useful to dairy farmers.
Limousins produce small calves with low birth weights, which mean they are useful to dairy farmers.
They have a 600ha, well-sheltered sheep and beef property at Groveburn, near Tuatapere, running 4300 stock units, including a Coopworth/Romney commercial flock and 100 pure bred Limousins under their Fernhill Limousin stud name.

The couple also run an earthmoving contracting business.

''We started in 1991 when we bought the first Limousin,'' he said.

''We went to Lorneville as we wanted to buy some cattle and they [the first Limousins] took our eye.

''They looked good visually and had good meat.''

He said they were well-muscled, and produced high value cuts.

Limousins produced small calves with low birth weights, which meant they were useful to dairy farmers.

''We sell quite a few to dairy farmers who often can on-sell the progeny for fattening as there is a very good market for the calves.''

Mrs Phillips said one of the issues was the belief that exotic breeds had docility issues, which might have been true when they were first brought into New Zealand in the 1970s.

''Now they are quite docile as it is a trait we breed for,'' she said.

Mr Phillips said the Limousin were also long-lived with some of their cows now in retirement on their property which were 16 to 18 years old.

''They were still having calves at 18 years old.''

Clients can view the cattle on farm by appointment.

''They are one of the best kept secrets in the beef industry,'' he said.

''They have got so much going for them.''

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