Lim-Flex animals, both genetically and phenotypically, show many strengths desired by both producers and consumers. In addition to the general “hybrid vigor” advantage of crossbreeding, those who select Limousin genetics for their programs also bring in the many maternal and terminal traits the breed is known for.
This means that producers get a hardy animal efficient in multiple areas, along with quality progeny coupled with strong brood cows.
For consumers, the cross provides heavy muscling with great marbling for quality cuts of beef. (And it’s even done at a higher level of efficiency making it a win for the planet as well!)
The flex part of the Lim-Flex name derives from the flexibility and efficiency that comes with the pairing. The full name is Flexible Limousin Efficient Cross (X). Besides here in the U.S., it has also been a boon to the Australian beef sector.
Embracing the Flex
Cattle breeders coming from an Angus background, the most populous beef breed in the U.S., can add performance and increase daily weight gain with the addition of Limousin genetics. The resulting hybrid maintains the do-ability and marbling of Angus and the growth and muscle and maximizes the yield with the Limousin influence, according to Raven Limousin.
Many producers find they like the versatile ability of the cross and the ability to still get “the work done.” The Lim-Flex breed allows for all-around flexibility in terms of carcass merit and maternal abilities. It also opens the door to more abundant marketing thanks to the consistent high dressing percentage of the progeny. Both productive females and terminal offspring show high levels of efficiency when it comes to feed conversion.
Something especially attractive about Limousin genetics for crossbreeding is that it pairs well with different cattle varieties, that being both established beef lines and dairy cattle.
Pairing with Angus
With the proliferation and premium prices associated with Certified Angus beef, many producers flocked to the British breed. While being on the forefront of commercial beef, Angus animals also pose some challenges regarding efficiency in areas of feeding and carcass yield.
But Limousin genetics paired with Angus produces a low proportion of bone and fat in addition to a high percentage of saleable meat that is great for marketability. In addition, they guarantee excellent productivity at a low cost.
From a producer’s standpoint, Limousins also balance quite well with the Angus personality and some of their most desired traits. Limousin bulls tend to bring lighter frames to their offspring to assist with calving ease while not giving up on confirmation, muscling or live weight. (Both Limousin bulls and cows are also touted for their fertility.)
The heavy Limousin muscling stems from a unique gene allele – one that doesn’t negatively impact the tenderness or meat quality.
The Angus cross in the Lim-Flex breed balances the Limousin traits. Their influence brings another level of marketing to the progeny and meat. Though the Limousin provides the muscle mass, the Angus provides the tenderness and marbling, or intermuscular fat, desired by the market. Angus already have a high-dressing percentage, and this benefits the efficiency of the Limousin breed.
Dairy producers looking for better profit margins have taken a keener interest in breeding some of their lower value dairy animals to beef crosses for offspring that fetch more in the beef market. Limousin, with its favorable ribeye area, abundant muscling and beef quality, is a perfect complement to other dairy breeds who have marbling but lack the right beef structure.
A great example of this is illustrated in the pairing of Limousin bulls with Jersey cows. The Jersey breed is known for its ability to marble very well, but its small frame and lack of muscling make straightbred calves very poor candidates for beef buyers and processors. Luckily the Lim-Flex hybrid solves many of those issues.
Wulf Cattle in Morris, Minn., has worked with dairy farmers to help select the best Limousin sires to help meet their goals. Their “Beef Builder” dairy hybrids had significant gains over straightbred Jersey calves in areas of average daily gain, hot carcass weight and ribeye area all while consuming significantly less feed to gain. Combined, these all worked to make a hybrid Jersey bull calf as much as 10 times as profitable compared to a straightbred.
Other Benefits of the Lim-Flex
The compatibility of the Limousin and other beef breeds provides producers with genetic options that have the goal of using the muscling and efficiency of Limousin and the marbling and maternal qualities from the Angus breed.
The Oklahoma State University highlights how the powerful genetic blend allows flexibility for seedstock and marketable progeny with desirable dressing percentages and high yields. Additionally, the females adapt well not only in the efficiency as mentioned previously but also adapt well to a range of environments.
The ability to adapt to a multitude of environments allows for the animal to be hardy in various extremes. Lim-Flex animals are not only hardy when it comes to the environmental changes, but their calving ease traits and the maternal pros from the Angus in their genes make them great mothers for their offspring.
Without a doubt, the Lim-Flex has impacted the industry for both producers and consumers. The ability to beautifully blend some of the best qualities of Angus and Limousin cattle has shown many benefits. Angus provides the marbling and go-get-it that compliments the heavy muscling hardy Limousin. Overall, the Lim-Flex was bred for the flexibility in a multitude of traits, and it fits the bill for both the consumer and producer.
Limousin cattle deliver to your bottom line. With superior genetics, a simple crossbreeding plan and state-of-the-art selection tools, the Limousin breed will serve profit-minded cow/calf producers. In today’s competitive markets, taking advantage of all available opportunities is key. The Limousin breed offers a variety of options from Fullblood to Purebred to the Lim-Flex® hybrid (Limousin x Angus cross) to match your program’s needs and market goals. Crossbreeding for the right blend of muscle, maternal ability and profit is easy with Limousin seedstock.