Marchigiana cattle are derived from long-horned cattle that
reached Italy in the sixth century AD following barbarian invasions. Today,
they have lost many of their original somatic traits and can be defined as
"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
Marchigiana cattle have 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 1970’s, 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.
The evolution of the Marchigiana breed into a beef-cattle
type has been progressive and significant. Their stature has been decreased,
their transverse diameters have been accentuated to a greater extent, their
length has been increased and their 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 outstanding
Marchigiana cattle have 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 cylindrical 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.
They also have an excellent growth capacity and in the best
specimens weight gain can peak at 2 kg a day. A precocious breed, they reach
their ideal slaughter weight at the age of 15-16 month, for a yield as high as
Content Source: Agraria.org