Podolica Cows
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About Podolica CattleAbout Podolica Cattle



The Podolicarnbreed is a descendent of the bos Primigenius Podolicus, very large-sizedrnlong-horned cattle thought to have been domesticated in the Middle East duringrnthe fourth century BC. There are two theories about the origin of Podolicarncattle. According to one, the Podolica derived from cattle that came to Italyrnin 452 BC following the Huns who, along their way from Mongolia, passed throughrnthe Ukrainian steppe, which can be considered the true birthplace of thernPodolica breed. Instead, another theory states that as far back as the firstrncentury BC, there existed long-horned cattle from Crete, an area that, even in thernMinoan age, had macroceros cattle which can be identified as bos primigenius.rnThe Podolica breed has spread throughout an area that mainly covers the inlandrnterritories of southern peninsular Italy (Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria,rnCampania, Molise and Apulia). The breed numbers 100,000 head, 25,000 of whichrnare listed in the Italian Herd Book of ANABIC, the association responsible forrnthe development and selection of this breed. One of the outstandingrncharacteristics of this cattle is its exceptional ability to adapt tornparticularly difficult environments, as well as its extraordinary capacity tornutilize food resources that would not otherwise be used. In fact, this cattlernis able to make the most of shrub-covered grazing areas as well as stubble andrnbush areas, using the leaves of shrubby elements, tree shoots and grassyrnunderbrush.

rnrnThe NationalrnAssociation of Italian Beef-Cattle Breeders (ANABIC - www.anabic.it) wasrnestablished to promote and implement all types of initiatives aimed towardsrnimproving, developing, ad spreading the autochthonous Italian cattle breeds:rnMarchigiana, Chianina, Romagnola, Maremmana and Podolica. ANABIC, which camernabout by merging the prevously existing individual National Breed Associations,rnhas taken on their responsibilities as far as selection is concerned and hasrnset up a single National Herd Book for the Italian beef-cattle breeds.

rnrnThere arerncurrently 21.000 head of cattle.

rnrnIt has beenrnpresent in Italy for a very long time and represents yet another example ofrnsuccessful biological adaptation to hostile environment. The breed isrnwidespread over a rather vast area that includes all of southern Italy. As arnresult, this has caused a great deal of variability in its size and in therncolor of its coat, which can range from white to dark gray. Pigmentation isrnblack.

rnrnThe podolica hasrna lightweight skeletal structure with slender legs, excellent perpendicularityrnand strong feet. Adult bulls weigh from 600 to 800 kg.

rnrnThe Podolica wasrnlong used mainly in a work capacity and only secondarily for beef and dairyrnproducts. In fact, its milk is ideal for producing the famousrn"caciocavallo' cheese. Subsequently, with the rise and spread ofrnagricultural mechanization, the selective trend of this breed became gearedrnmore towards beef production and, to a lesser extent, towards dairy production,rnparticularly in certain areas. As far as the reproductive aspect is concerned,rnage at first calving is rather advanced (about 3 years). This is due primarilyrnto the breed's harsh habitat, which can be noted above all during the heat ofrnthe summer months, which significantly decreases the amount of food resourcesrnavailable and thus slows down the growth of younger animals. Nevertheless, thisrntype of cattle develops a long reproductive career, breeding for over ten yearsrnwith an average time span of fifteen months between calvings. For the mostrnpart, calvings are spontaneous and are concentrated during the springtime.rnCalves are suckled for at least four months. The calves are then weaned inrnorder to be sold for slaughter at around 15-16 months, with weights rangingrnaround 300-350 kg. In some cases, as far as males are concerned, heavierrnbullocks are produced and these subjects are slaughtered at around two years ofrnage, at a weight of 500 kg.

rnrnA robust andrnfrugal breed comparable to the Maremmana, it is capable of exploiting grazingrnareas covered with shrubs, stubbles and thickets. It is characterized by itsrndocile nature, outstanding maternal capability and long reproductive carrier.

rnrnCalves are bornrnspontaneously and weigh an average of 30 kg ata birth.

rnrnCows reach arnweight of 400-500 kg by adulthood and produce plenty of milk rich in fat, whichrnin some areas is used to make highly prized soft cheese.

rnrnContent and photo source: Agraria.org.rnrn

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