The first Limousin imported to Canada was Prince Pompadour in November of 1968, with semen made available in July of 1969. After the importation of Prince Pompadour to Canada, another group of eleven Limousin bulls and five heifers were imported in April of 1969. Many more importations followed, 91 sires and 544 females up to and including 1974. 19 European breeds, totaling 4,790 head were imported into Canada between April 1965 and September 1974. The popularity of the Limousin breed spread quickly when performance testing proved their value to the industry as the most efficient over all French breeds. There was emphasis on upgrading with Limousin, starting with the foundation (half-blood) female.
In July 1969, a meeting took place in Calgary, Alberta and the decision was made to form the Canadian Limousin Association (CLA) under the Animal Pedigree Act. The inaugural meeting of the CLA was held in March 1970 and by June 1970 it was reported that there were 126 CLA members. By the end of 1974 there were 1,107 head of Fullblood Limousin cattle in Canada, 440 of which were Canadian-born. Membership in the CLA was up to 2,475. At the conclusion of 1976, memberships were at an all-time high as 3,460 and 30,000 Fullblood and percentage Limousin cattle were entered in the CLA herdbook. The Canadian Limousin Association office has remained in Calgary, Alberta since the inception of the Association.
The Canadian Limousin Bull Test Center is one of many highlights in the history of the Limousin breed in Canada. Sales were held at the completion of each test from 1978 through 1997 and during that time, 895.5 bulls would pass through the sale ring to gross $2,815,050.05 CAD, for a sale average of $3,144 CAD. Limousin animals claimed many championships in the show steer ring and 4-H shows and the CLA made efforts towards encouraging youth to exhibit Limousin cattle. The ladies’ auxiliary, the Limoselles, was formed and from that group came many unique promotional and commemorative items. The CLA prioritized promotion of the breed through group efforts and relied on Provincial Limousin Associations to aid in this effort.
An excerpt from the book Limousin Cattle In Canada… A Success Story by Harald Gunderson reads, “It was the swing to grassroots promotion that turned the CLA from an association of individual breeders to an association of people sharing the belief in one breed of cattle.”
This statement has carried the Limousin breed through to today, where it remains the fifth largest beef breed registry in Canada (behind Angus, Simmental, Hereford and Charolais, respectively). The Association must credit the breeders of the original genetics, founding members, presidents and directors, association managers and staff, all of the breeders and commercial cattlemen, as well as industry proponents, that collectively have made the breed what it is today in Canada. Today, many countries look to Canada as a provider of superior Limousin genetics. Semen and embryos, as well as live cattle, have been exported to numerous countries. Canadian Limousin breeders are always happy to host international guests and welcome tours of their operations. Canada was tremendously proud to host the World Congress in 1982 in Calgary, Alberta and the 2002 International Limousin Congress, also in Calgary, Alberta. A great deal of connections have been made through ILC.
As commercial cattlemen in Canada seek largely to purchase polled bulls, selection pressure has been placed on selecting for polled breeding stock. The CLA herdbook is now made up of nearly 95% polled animals. Limousin won the Canadian Western Agribiton carcass competition for 26 consecutive years. Today, the Canadian beef grading system grades carcasses based largely on quality (muscling, marbling, fat measure and fat color and texture), as well as yield. The carcass merits of the Limousin breed in terms of superior yield and ribeye area are well documented, however, they typically do not excel over British breeds in terms of marbling and fat. Therefore, in order to meet the current demands of the Canadian beef industry producers find that crossing Limousin with a British breed is the ultimate way to achieve an ideal product for the Canadian or USA market. The Canadian Limousin Association registers a growing number of Lim-Flex cattle (registered Angus or Red Angus crossed with a registered Limousin), as well as percentage Limousin cattle. However, the vast majority of the herdbook is comprised of purebred (90% or greater Limousin blood) cattle. A smaller number of breeders continue to raise Fullblood Limousin animals, which make up 1% of the herdbook. These breeders remain very active in continuing the gene pool of Fullblood Limousin genetics in Canada. As a result of crossbreeding and then numerous generations of grading up, we now see that 30% of registered Limousin animals are black hided. Black coat color is favored by feeders in some parts of the country and black hided cattle qualify for specialty programs at slaughter that pay premiums.
In Canada, most calving occurs in January through May, depending on the operation. A lesser number of producers choose to calve some of their herd in the fall (August and September). Calves born in the spring months are typically weaned in the fall and weaned calves may be marketed at auction or kept to be sold as yearling animals. Most producers breed their heifers at one year of age and females are expected to raise a calf every year. Bulls are typically sold between 11 to 26 months of age, with bull sales occurring during February, March and April. Most breeding is still done by natural service, however many seedstock breeders take advantage of artificial insemination and embryo transfer technologies as well. Cattle shows take place year-round, however, the majority of the large purebred shows take place in October and November. Some of these shows will have sales where mostly females and genetics, and occasionally bulls, will be sold. Some producers sell females in their bull sale as well.
The Canadian Limousin Association continues to see the commercial cattlemen as the ultimate target customer as the longevity of our breed relies on the ability to sell bulls into commercial herds. This, in turn, encourages and allows opportunity for new breeders to begin raising Limousin seedstock of their own. The Association has seen increases in membership in recent years and continues to have a thriving junior program with an annual junior show that is hosted by a different province each year along with the CLA Annual General Meeting. The average registered Limousin herd in Canada is 31 cows, with the largest operations having upwards of 300 registered mother cows. Commercial operations using Limousin genetics can have over 1,000 cows. The Limousin breed has adapted well to the variety of climates and management styles in various parts of Canada. Whether it be in open range conditions, more intensive management models, or the many operation styles in between that can be found from coast to coast, Limousin has excelled in all scenarios.
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.