In the early 1970s Limousin cattle, along with other so called 'exotics' were imported into the country. With this the monopoly of the beef market was over for Angus and Hereford breeders; some even worried that the new breeds like Limousin, Simmental and Charolais would take over. However only a very small number of traditional beef breeders changed over to new European breeds. Older breeders were too well established to risk changing their stock over—the men who supported the new breeds and broke the beef tradition in New Zealand were young men who were not yet established as breeders and yet had enough finance to give it a go.
One of these men was David Bodle of the Waikato, shown here proudly displaying a product of his Limousin breeding programme. Mr Bodle had been on his farm for ten years when, in 1973, the opportunity arose for him to buy a Limousin heifer from the first New Zealand Government importation of the breed from its home country, France. He bought the heifer and rearranged his breeding programme. Since then his venture has rewarded him with gratifying recognition at various A & P shows.
The anatomy of the Limousin is its prime feature. With one look at the massive beast it can easily be seen why it has been called 'the carcass breed'. The parts of the beast which yield the higher priced meats, such as the fillet, are very well developed. According to Mr Bodle, a Limousin carcass will yield up to 73 per cent meat.
The Limousin is one of the oldest strains of traditional breeding cattle in the world. According to Limousin literature, the breed can be traced back to France of 4 000 BC. Now Limousins can be found in over 30 countries around the world, flourishing in almost all climatic conditions. And, while a late arrival, the Limousin flourishes now throughout New Zealand, from Northland to the foothills of the Southern Alps.