Lowline Beef snags SA buyers

September 29, 2016
Article by Catherine Miller, Stock Journal  28 September 2016

A burgeoning Australian Lowline beef brand is proof from little things, big things can grow.

In November 2014, South East breeders Denise and Peter Moloney, Burrungule, joined forces with Sue Foureur, Glencoe, after being frustrated by poor prices for their Lowline and Lowline-cross cattle.

VALUE ADDING: Sue Foureur, Glencoe, and Denise and Peter Moloney, Burrungule, are enjoying strong demand for their Burrungule Boutique Beef at the Mount Gambier Farmers Market each Saturday morning (Photo courtesy of Stock Journal)

VALUE ADDING: Sue Foureur, Glencoe, and Denise and Peter Moloney, Burrungule, are enjoying strong demand for their Burrungule Boutique Beef at the Mount Gambier Farmers Market each Saturday morning (Photo courtesy of Stock Journal)

“We thought there had to be another way to do things,” Mrs Moloney said.

“We knew our beef was good, but we weren’t being paid for it in the traditional market.”

Their value-adding venture, Burrungule Boutique Beef, began selling sausages in bread at the Mount Gambier Farmers Market.

But within a few months they had gained SA Meat Hygiene Unit accreditation to sell fresh meat from their mobile cool room.

They are receiving rave reviews for their gourmet sausages, Steak and Guinness and Chunky Beef pies at the market every Saturday morning, as well as fresh meat packs.

“We have had people say our mince makes the best spaghetti bolognaise and had other customers travel more than 100 kilometres to the market,” Mrs Moloney said.

Burrungule Boutique Beef has also catered for local events of up to 5000 people.

This weekend they are catering for Round 2 of the Drift Car Challenge at the Lakes.

Mr Moloney, a butcher with more than 35 years experience, has been a major part of the success, making the red wine and garlic, and plum and sweet chilli gourmet sausages and packaging the meat in sizes for singles, couples and families.

He says the early maturity of Lowlines is a plus, but the real difference is their carcase yield.

“Most breeds have 30 per cent to 33pc loss from carcase weight, whereas with Lowlines and their crosses, it is closer to 25pc,” he said.

“That 7-8pc less wastage makes a big difference.”

The animals used in the brand are turned off at 14 months of age at about 180 kilograms dressed weight and processed at the Edenhope abattoir in Vic.

“Supermarkets look for a 240-250kg carcase, but at 180kg Lowlines are the perfect sized steak,” he said.

Certified Lowline Beef & Lowline Pies (Photo courtesy of the Stock Journal)

Certified Lowline Beef & Lowline Pies (Photo courtesy of the Stock Journal)

Patronage of the Mount Gambier Farmers Market has increased dramatically in the past year as more and more consumers look to connect with the people who produce the food they eat. They also like the story involved in the produce and that it is local.

On the back of this they hope to increase their sales, so none of the saleable cattle from their joint holdings go to the traditional market.

“People may say they are short-legged little things, but value-adding to receive up to four or five times more than saleyard prices puts a smile on our faces,” Mr Moloney said.

The Australian Lowline Cattle Association is succeeding at getting more consumers tasting their members’ top quality beef

Its Certified Lowline Beef program requires participating breeders to enter into an agreement with ALCA guaranteeing their animals are at least 50 per cent pure Lowline, being either sired by a registered Lowline bull or from a registered dam. This can be verified by DNA testing.

Across Australia there are about 20 ALCA members who have signed agreements, including four in SA, enabling them to supply CLB direct to the public and to selected butcher shops.

Denise Moloney, who is a member of ALCA council, says the program and labelling is a great initiative.

“We are trying to give more to our commercial members and emphasise the brand just like the Angus and Hereford societies have done,” she said.

Sue Foureur, who has been breeding Lowlines for nearly 20 years, says selling branded beef and participating in the CLB program has been a huge boost.

“We are promoting the breed for what it is – a great beef animal,” she said.