Lincoln Red cattle were developed in Lincolnshire, Britain in the early 1800s, a time rich with breed development and livestock improvement. They’re related to Shorthorn cattle and were originally registered in the Coates Herd Book, but began their own herd book in 1896.
Lincoln Red cattle began as a dual-purpose breed, but are now selected for beef production. When continental beef breeds were imported to Britain in the 1970s and 1980s, many cattle lost ground through crossbreeding programs that didn’t plan for the replacement of purebreds. A small number of uncrossed Lincoln Red cattle remain in Great Britain, where they’re known as Lincoln Red Original Population. These are also considered critically endangered by the U.K.’s Rare Breed Survival Trust.
Lincoln Reds were imported to the United States and Canada in the 1960s and early ’70s, just prior to the breed improvement program that allowed outcrossing of Lincoln Red cattle in Britain. Although The Livestock Conservancy’s criteria for inclusion on the Conservation Priority List states that breeds must have a long history in the U.S., Lincoln Reds are a good example of the handful of breeds that are included because they’re at risk globally, and the U.S. population contributes significantly to global conservation.
Lincoln Red cattle are deep cherry red in color with excellent temperament, growth rate, and hardiness. While most are polled, it’s important to keep ones that are horned. Like Dexter cattle, the polled trait was introduced through a grade-up program and isn’t original to the breed. Lincoln Reds are well suited to colder climates and represent a viable option for small-scale beef production. There are fewer than 50 registered each year in North America.
Did you know:
The Livestock Conservancy is America’s leading organization working to save over 150 heritage breeds from extinction. We rely on the support of our members, grants, and donations from the public to raise the $700,000 a year needed to maintain our conservation work with rare breeds of farm animals. Click here to learn how you can help.