Longevity: Longhorns have incredibly long productive life spans. Many live past 20 years of age with some producing past age 25 or 30. This longevity means the rancher can retain cows longer and sell more young stock for a profit.
Calving Ease: As a breed average longhorn cattle have a 99% unassisted calving rate. The calves are typically smaller and weight less than the average commercial beef cow. The shape of the head and shoulders are more tapered to better fit the cow’s pelvic opening. This makes for easier, faster births with little stress on the cow or calf. The calf is usually up and running before the rancher knows it is born. In the twelve years I have been raising Texas Longhorn cattle I have yet to see a calf born. I have found them only minutes old but have never seen an actual birth.
Disease Resistance: Longhorns are more resistant to common cattle diseases such as pink eye and foot rot. This means few visits from the vet and fewer vaccinations which reduces your input costs. I have never had a case of pink eye, cancer eye or foot rot in my longhorn cattle.
Lean Beef: Texas longhorn beef is leaner and has less cholesterol than boneless, skinless chicken breast with more necessary amino acids and nutrients. (Texas A&M, 1987) This is a great marketing tool for ranchers to use. With our societies move towards leaner meats and a more health conscious way of eating the longhorn beef is a perfect fit.
Pasture Utilization: Longhorn cattle will eat a greater variety of plants and grasses than other beef cattle. Longhorns will actually browse trees and shrubs similar to deer. Therefore longhorns will make more use of the available plant matter to convert to body weight and reduce the need for feed to be supplied to them.
Lower Production Cost: Due to the hardy nature of the longhorns the do not require a barn for shelter. Longhorns do very well, even in winter if they have shelter from the wind and some trees for shelter in the summer sun. My Texas longhorn cattle live out on pasture all year in the Rocky Mountain foothills where my ranch is located and do very well.
Hybrid Vigor: Crossing longhorn cattle on other beef breeds introduces hybrid vigor in the resulting off-spring. This means that the calves that result from the cross will grow faster and have characteristics that make them generally do better. My neighbor uses a longhorn bull on all of his first calf Herford heifers and has been very impressed with the quality of the calves he gets.