About Valdostana Pezzata Rossa Cattle
This is the
autochthonous breed from Valle d’Aosta, where almost all heads are bred (85%). It
is either for milk or meat, with a fairly good milk production considering the
size of the animals (on average 500 kg alive), their frugality as well as their
quite good meat production and good butchery yield.
There are three breeds
which differ by their morphological characteristics, coat, milk and meat
production and temperament. These are: Valdostana Pezzate Rossa, Valdostana
Pezzata Nera and Castana. There are two genealogical books, one to register
Valdostana and Pezzata Rossa heads and the other to register either Valdostana
Pezzata Nera or Castana heads.
In 1937 the National
Association of Valdostana Breeders was founded A:N:A Bo.Ra.Va. (www.anaborava.it)
It is the most common
breed in Val d’Aosta (in 2003 there were 13,241 heads registered). It is marked
by a red Pied coat shading from a light to a dark red with white head, abdomen,
parts of limbs and tail. Like all red pied breeds grazing in the Mount Blanc
valleys, this one comes from red pied cattle dating back to the end of the
fifth century (Burgundi). One of the typical Italian dairy breed which is
appreciated for its quality meat and its strength. Particularly docile and
strong, it is very apt to harsh climate and also resistant to ordinary
pathologies. Long-lived, frugal, this breed is able to live on coarse forage.
Nera and Castana together with the Swiss Hérens belong to the authochtonous
cattle which originated in the Alps, coming probably from ‘Bos brachyceros’.
Brachycephalic breeds stand out for their lively temperament, their rusticity.
They both belong to the same Genealogical Book, but being different in the
coat. Milk production is lower than in the Valdostana Pezzata Rossa.
The coat of Pezzata
Nera has a black and white pigment to built up the typical pied, while Castana
has a uniform black and red pigment shading from black to tawny.
In 2003 there were
7,094 heads registered. It has similar features as Pezzata Rossa, but it is
usually less developed, more rustic, stronger and more harmonious.
These animals show a
lively quite aggressive temperament when grazing: they establish a sort of
hierarchy within the herd by fighting uncruelly, though. It is just by
exploiting this peculiarity that since over 50 years breeders organize
fighting between their heifers ( Batailles de Reines) in order to point to the
strongest and give it the title of Reìna (queen).
Content and photo source: agrarian.org