The Aberdeen breed truly has a lot to offer. American Aberdeen cattle are 100% Angus derived from Champion Angus bloodlines. They are family friendly, highly marketable cattle known for heavy muscling, easy calving and easy handling. However, their most highly notable trait is their superior grass conversion making them ideal for the natural and grass-raised beef markets.
The Aberdeen breed was founded in Australia from descendants of Angus herd, a breed formed several centuries ago from black hornless cattle found in the counties of Aberdeen and Angus in Scotland. These cattle spread worldwide in the 1800s and black Angus grew to dominate the American beef industry.
The Aberdeen story began in 1974 with a 19-year Australian research program that used a closed herd of 85 Aberdeen cows at the Trangie research center. The intent of the study was to establish whether large or small animals were more efficient at converting grass into meat. Three herds were defined High Line and Low Line, separated by high or low yearling growth rates, and Control Line, a randomly selected herd. To determine protein conversion performance, they evaluated weight gain, feed intake, reproductive performance, milk production, carcass yield and quality, and structural soundness. Research results showed that the efficiency of conversion from grass to protein was about the same for the High and Low Line herds.
A new, smaller breed, carrying all of the desirable characteristics of Angus cattle had been unintentionally created. The experiment was headed for termination and the animals were soon to be slaughtered, but auction sales hinted at the value of these smaller animals. The animals were saved and a new breed formally established. After 15 years of selective breeding, the Low Line herd had stabilized in size at about 30 percent smaller than the High Line cattle. They proved adaptable to Australian conditions and were exceptionally docile. They are one of the smallest beef cattle breeds in the world.
Low size and weight, natural lack of horns, docility, and ease of birthing are hallmarks of the Aberdeen breed. Small size means less stress on fences and less damage to pastures. Aberdeens docility allows some owners to give vaccinations without using a chute or restraint. The same traits that make them ideal for those with no prior cattle experience makes them perfect for 4-H projects. Children can more easily manage smaller, lighter Aberdeens.
Typical Aberdeen weight and size:
Efficiency: Aberdeen cattle consume about 1/3 the amount of feed as a full-sized animal, gaining weight and finishing earlier with very little cost. They do not need grain to reach full maturity. Where you would normally stock 6 Angus cows you can run 10 Aberdeens, and you can expect more pounds of meat per acre than with standard size breeds.
Market perception and value: Health-conscious people who like red meat are drawn to the smaller cuts of well-marbled Aberdeen beef, which, as the breeds reputation grows, has begun being served as a gourmet food by some of the worlds leading chefs. Aberdeen beef offers a high proportion of meat to bone and fat. This is most evident in the amount of chuck that the carcasses produce. Known health benefits: more omega-3 fatty acids, more conjugated linoleic acid (a potent cancer-fighter), less total fat and calories, less omega-6 (linked to several disorders and diseases), and less risk of bacterial contamination due to the higher pH of the cows digestive tract if grass-fed.
Crossbreeding benefits: Aberdeen-cross dairy calves typically have low birth weights, allowing easy, typically unassisted calving. Aberdeen-bred dairy heifers hit full milk production rapidly after calving, and shorter gestation means it is possible to produce a quality calf every year from a Aberdeen bull. Aberdeen bulls are very fertile and have proven ability to reach heifers, yet their low weight reduces the risk of injury to heifers. Aberdeen Bulls do not require the same amount of feeding as larger bulls, making them inexpensive to maintain, and they are easy to handle, whether separated or among the herd.
American Aberdeen cattle were developed from a herd of 100% Registered Angus, which was established at the Trangie Research Center 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 Aberdeen cattle.
Yes, due to the smaller size of a newborn calf, assistance is not generally required at calving time and American Aberdeen cows make excellent mothers.
No, they 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.
American Aberdeen cattle thrive on smaller amounts of feed, whether grass or hay because of their efficient conversion of grass to meat. American Aberdeen cattle require limited amount of feed and this makes them ideal for smaller acreage and allows for more American Aberdeens 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 American Aberdeen cattle 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 American Aberdeen Association members located in different areas of the country.
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.
Visit our member’s pages where you’ll find breeders in our region. Most members are more than happy to show you their American Aberdeen cattle.
American Aberdeen 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.
American Aberdeen cattle answer the challenges of both the large scale rancher and the small acreage farmers.
For the large scale ranch operation, American Aberdeen lower labor and veterinary costs and provide many economic advantages. Commercial heifers bred to Fullblood American Aberdeen bulls calve easily and breed back quickly, reducing the calving interval. Halfblood American Aberdeen cows maintain themselves on about half the feed that is required by a full size crossbred cow and wean more pounds of calf per acre. American Aberdeen cattle are also a perfect choice for small acreage farmers. Their moderate size makes them easy to handle and minimizes equipment requirements. Their feed efficiency improves the carrying capacity of a farm. They produce exceptional quality beef. They are ideal show animals for 4-H and other youth projects bringing in the next generation of cattle people. They may also offer the tax advantages of an agriculturally based property and business. American Aberdeen cross cattle are extremely well suited to grass-fed beef production as they are easy fleshing and will finish on a high roughage ration, producing high value carcasses with a minimum of input costs. The American Aberdeen Association, headquartered in Parker, CO requires that all Fullblood American Aberdeen cattle have DNA parentage verification to assure their genetic purity providing a breed integrity that is unmatched among other breeds. The national registry has also established the tradition of an Annual National Show and Sale and Convention at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, providing a prestigious showplace for the top bloodlines in the breed as well as an ideal setting to share thoughts, ideas and mingle with other American Aberdeen breeders as well as the nation’s top cattlemen of all breeds.