Limousin originated in the West of the Massif Central between Central and South West France, a rather rainy region with harsh climatic conditions and poor granite soil
The Limousin is large, fine and has a strong-boned frame. Mature Limousin females should average 650 kilos and mature males 1000 kilos. The head is small and short with a broad forehead, and the neck is short with a broad muzzle.
Coat color is golden-red and a lighter color under the stomach, inside the thighs, around the eyes and muzzle, and around the anus and end of the tail. The skin is free of pigmentation.
Limousins with black genetics show a variation in color. Calves can be light fawn or brown in color graduating through different ages to a deep black at a fully mature age. Mature black animals can often display black coats fully tinged with brown hairs.
Horns are yellow at the base and darken towards the tips; they are at first horizontal, then curve forwards and upwards.
An early-maturing breed, Limousins naturally produce young, but mature, lean beef in the medium weight range demanded by supermarkets and for intervention supply.
The Limousin has built a reputation for being The Carcase Breed. It produces beef with a low proportion of bone and fat, a top killing-out percentage and a high yield of saleable meat (73.3%). Half and three-quarter-bred carcasses have excellent conformation well-suited to the market, which demands a consistent, lean beef product. A Reading University study into beef production highlighted the fact that suckled three-quarter-bred Limousin calves produce 98% of carcasses classified -U or better. The meat quality of the Limousin carcass remains high whatever the animal's age at slaughter.
Limousins guarantee excellent productivity at a low cost. The bulls are extremely fertile and their good conformation is passed on to all progeny, whatever the dams' breeding, while their lighter frame ensures ease of calving.
The Limousin is a profitable converter of all feeds. Commercial producers around the UK testify that Limousins cross-breeds demonstrate a higher live weight gain per kilo of food consumed than those of any other breed. Beef producers rearing Limousin cattle can expect bulls and cross-bred cows to do well on marginal land and their progeny to finish faster. In an age where profit margins are determined by production costs, this trait is of tremendous benefit.
Limousin crosses Holstein Friesian suckler cows play a dominant role in commercial beef production. When crossed back to Limousin bulls, their three-quarter progeny produce carcasses of similar quality and conformation to pure-breds.
Pure-bred Limousin females are top class suckler cows and provide a viable commercial option for producers with a closed herd policy. They demonstrate high fertility, a good milking ability, high conception rates and ease of calving. Use of the breed guarantees vigorous calves stamped with Limousin quality and home-bred replacements ensure total traceability from birth to slaughter.