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Cattle breeds: Valdostana Pezzata Nera

Cattle breeds: Valdostana Pezzata Nera



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Origin and diffusion area

In the bovine population of the Aosta Valley there are animals with a red piebald coat and animals with a black and / or brown piebald coat. There are in fact two breeds, the Pezzata Rossa and the Pezzata Nera which at times can present brown coat with sizes or, more frequently, uniform. The Valdostana Pezzata Nera and Castana represent with their cousin Hérens (Switzerland), the indigenous bovine group that originally populated the alpine arch, probably deriving from the Bos brachyceros. The brachycephalic breeds (with a broad skull) are distinguished by their lively character and their rusticity. The Valdostana Pezzata Nera and Castana strains are part of the same Herd Book, differentiating between them for the color of the coat. In 1937 the National Association of Cattle Breeders of the Valle d'Aosta A.N.A.Bo.Ra.Va. (Www.anaborava.it).
It is one of 11 breeds belonging to the European Federation of Alpine System breeds (Abondance-France; Grigio Alpina-Italy; Herens-Switzerland; Hinterwälder-Germany; Pinzgauer-Austria; Rendena-Italy; Tarentaise-France; Tiroler Grauvieh-Austria; Valdostana-Italy; Vordelwälder-Germany; Vosgienne-France).
The lively and rather aggressive temperament of these cows occurs in grazing animals which designate a hierarchy within the herd through bloodless fighting between them. Taking advantage of this characteristic, breeders have been organizing, for more than 50 years, fighting between their cows (Batailles de Reines) to designate the strongest and assign it the title of Rèina (queen).
The Valdostana Pezzata Nera and Castana strains are part of the same Herd Book, differentiating between them for the color of the coat.

Morphological characteristics

It presents similar characters the same characters as the Pezzata Rossa, although usually less developed, more rustic and with a more solid and harmonious conformation.
Black piebald coat, usually white limbs and ventral region, generally black head with white spots on the forehead. The coat is made up of black and white pigment distributed to form the typical size.
Harmonic animals of small size and stature.

Productive characteristics

Dual-purpose breed with a prevalence of milk.
Coarser than the Red Peppery Valdostana. Milk production is lower than the Valle d'Aosta Pezzata Rossa.
Perfectly adapted to the difficult breeding environment (pasture even at over 2,500 m altitude).
The breed is characterized by its high motor capacity for movement, for grazing even in low-productivity areas and for its resistance to pathologies.
In 2003, the 7,094 cows entered in the herd book reached an average production of: 2,846 kg of milk with 3.43% fat and 3.38% protein.

Valdostana Pezzata Nera breed cow

Bull of the Valle d'Aosta Pezzata Nera breed

Valdostana Castana

Similar to the Pezzata Nera, except for the coat, so much so as to have the same herd book with identical technical standards. The essential purpose of breeding the Castana is undoubtedly the use of cows in traditional Battailles de Reines.
The texts of the early twentieth century only refer to the Hérens breed as a uniform or black-brown population present in the Aosta Valley (Marchi, Mascheroni, Bonadonna, etc.). Only more recently does the so-called Castana appear. As mentioned above, only the two Valdostana P.R. strains had been officially recognized and selected and P.N. But despite the prohibitions imposed by the Technical Commissions, the breeding of the Castane and clandestine introductions have followed one another to the present day. Two hypotheses have been put forward by Avon (1976) and Lauvergne and Avon (1981) on the origin of the breed: the Castana would represent the residue of the ancient original population of the selected area, in Switzerland, for the uniform coat (breed of Hérens) and in Valle dAosta for the black piebald coat (Valdostana Pezzata Nera); the second hypothesis states that the castana is a mestizo population derived from the cross between the Hérens and the Valdosta Pezzata nera.
Coat: uniform, generally black, or of a rather variable color from black to light brown; the size may also be present.
The Castana breed is like the other two Valle d'Aosta characterized by age at the first late birth, 36 months. The obligation to submit pregnant cows to battles prevents breeders from losing sight of or penalizing the livestock aspect of the farm.
The Castana breed is bred with the same techniques adopted for the other breeds, i.e. winter housing and summer pasture. Its innate combativeness requires large spaces and means that it does not adapt well to intensive breeding. The remarkable rusticity and resistance of the breed, however, is exploited for the use of the mountain pastures.
Website of the National Association of Cattle Breeders of the Valle d'Aosta breed: www.anaborava.it

Heifer of Valdostana Castana breed


Video: Irish Hereford Breed Society (August 2022).