About Marchigiana Cattle
|Marchigiana - Bull (photo www.cattlenetwork.net)|
The Marchigiana breed
derived from the long-horned cattle that reached Italy in the sixth century AD
following the barbarian invasions. Today, this breed has lost many of its
original somatic traits and can be defined as a "synthetic" beef cattle
breed created in Italy. During the second half of the nineteenth century,
breeders from the Marches region had Chianina bulls mount their dams in order
to improve the beef-production capacity of these work animals. The results were
soon evident and not only did muscle development improve, but the coat became
lighter, the horns shorter and the head lighter. In these subjects, known as
"short-horns", this capacity improved significantly, but the increase
in stature made the oxen unsuitable for working on the hilly and sub- mountain
areas of the Marches. Therefore, at the beginning of the twentieth century,
widespread cross-breeding with Romagnola bulls was performed in order to
decrease stature and improve the structure of the breed. However, following all
this cross-breeding, which was done without any precise indications,
Marchigiana cattle looked more like a population than a true breed. For this
reason, a decision was made in 1932 to stop any type of cross-breeding and to
proceed with improving the breed through selection conducted according to
directives that entailed listing in herd books. This breed has succeeded in
earning itself an important niche, starting right from its very origins. In
fact, the breed has spread from the Marches area throughout all of central
Italy, even going as far as the southern regions. As of the Seventies, the
Marchigiana breed has also been exported to various countries including the United
States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Great Britain and Australia. Now, countries
in northern Europe are also starting to discover the potential offered by this
breed, which seems to have gained favor particularly among Dutch breeders.
Association of Italian Beef-Cattle Breeders (ANABIC - www.anabic.it) was established to promote and implement all
types of initiatives aimed towards improving, developing, ad spreading the
autochthonous Italian cattle breeds: Marchigiana, Chianina, Romagnola,
Maremmana and Podolica. ANABIC, which came about by merging the previously
existing individual National Breed Associations, has taken on their
responsibilities as far as selection is concerned and has set up a single
National Herd Book for the Italian beef-cattle breeds.
The Marchigiana breed
is widespread throughout the Marches, Latium, Abruzzo and Campania.
Approximately 50.000 head are enrolled with the Herd-Book.
The evolution of the
Marchigiana breed into a beef-cattle type has been progressive and significant.
Its stature has been decreased, its transverse diameters have been accentuated
to a greater extent, its length has been increased and the legs and head have
become lighter. The modern-day Marchigiana is a cattle type that has
significant somatic development and it is characterized by a high growth
capacity and outstandingg precocity.
It has a white coat
that may have some gray shading in the males. The skin and mucosae oris have a
black pigmentation. The Marchigiana has a light head with short horns. It has a
long cylkindrical trunk with excellent muscle development, particularly in the
buttocks and thighs.
The cows have
excellent maternal capabilities and calving is natural, with the calves weighing
an average of 45 kg at birth.
It also has an
excellent growth capacity and in the best specimens weight gain can peak at 2 kg
a day. A precocious breed, it reaches its ideal slaughter weight at the age of
15-16 month, for a yield as high as 67%.
Content Source: Agraria.org