Beef breeds

TANIERE (top 1% supérieur) donneuse d'embryons
TANIERE (top 1% supérieur) donneuse d’embryons - Crédit : France Limousin Sélection
Summary of the article

 Traits and performances

The Limousine breed was forged by its home region the Limousine, a predominantly pastureland area of France where winter conditions can prove tough. It is one of the very oldest French breeds to be selected for beefing abilities without crossing-in foreign blood.

Decades of dedicated selection efforts have now culminated in a breed that is ideally suited to meat production.

A standout feature of the Limousine breed is its ability to produce animals that consistently hit the same level of quality, regardless of age at slaughter: baby veal calves, calves weaned for fattening, young bull, heifers or cull cows – all equally prized by butchers and consumers alike.

The success of these products hinges largely on the Limousine’s excellent carcass yield, as its thin hide and unusually slim skeletal convert into a remarkable saleable meat yield.

Limousine meat gains added value through three official quality label: "Bœuf Limousin", “Limousin free-range veal”, and "Limousin Junior" (all three under prestige-edition Label Rouge).

In addition to these outstanding carcass merit traits, the Limousine also boasts excellent maternal qualities (ease of calving, dam fertility and longevity, adaptability to different farming systems).

This perfect trade-off between farming qualities and market profitability has enabled the Limousine to extend its popularity throughout France, and to export into over 80 countries worldwide, where it is used purebred or else crossbred with local breeds to add improved meat yields.


The breeding program, coordinated and co-managed by France Limousin Sélection and the French Limousine Herd-Book, hinges around the national bull evaluation station at Lanaud.

The breeding objectives are currently to obtain cowherds able to deliver a regular one weaned calve a year, calving unassisted, and young bulls aged 15 to 17 months with top-quality saleable meat yield (400 kg of superior grade-E conformation meat, with little excess fat).

In order to achieve these targets, the breeding program harnesses the full panel of selection methods (parentage, progeny and individual on-station testing) with all the different ways to propagate selected breeding stocks (natural mating, AI).

This system can thus hand-pick and propagate the very best bulls in commercial farms to ensure clear-cut genetic herd improvement. The weight differential between progeny sired by bulls registered in the Limousine Herd-Book versus unregistered bulls reach 15 to 55 kg liveweight for heifers and 20 kg liveweight for weaned calves.


Key figures

  • 1,077,489 cows
  • 26,786 farms
  • 252,369 cows under on-farm official performance recording system
  • 72,972 cows recorded in the Herd Book
  • 304,896 artificial inseminations
  • Height at withers (adult cow): 135 to 145 cm
  • Adult cow weight:
    650 to 850 kg
  • Adult bull weight:
    1,000 to 1,300 kg
  • Easy calving: 97 %
  • Birth weight of male calves: 43.2 kg
  • 120-day weight of male calves: 176 kg
  • 210-day weight of male calves: 290 kg
  • Weight of young-bull carcass:
    375 to 420 kg
  • Carcass yield: 60 to 62 %

Results of on-farm performance recording system 2014 - Institut de l’Elevage & France Bovins Croissance



Cart documents to download directly or to add to your cart for download at the end of visit