Asturian Mountain cattle

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Asturian Mountain cattle

Asturian Mountain (Spanish: Asturiana de la Montaña)[1] is a local Spanish breed of cattle, possessed of notable foraging ability,[citation needed] breeding capacity,[1] and docility.[1] They are primarily raised in the east of Asturias,[1] in the north of Spain, particularly in the mountain range of the Picos de Europa, including within the National Park of Covadonga. The breed is also known as the Casina[1][2] They are beef cattle,[1] the source of meat labeled with the protected designation "Casín" (after the Asturian town of Caso),[citation needed] and one of three breeds used to produce Casín cheese.[3]

History[edit]

Area where Asturian Mountain cattle are prominent

The Asturian Mountain breed has been part of the landscape and ecosystem of the east of Asturias for a very long time. This breed belongs to an exclusive bovine group in Spain known as the tronco Cantábrico ('Cantabric trunk') that only includes breeds native to northern Spain, the most numerous of which are the Asturian Valley cattle. The Asturian Mountain is a descendant of the eastern Roxa beef cattle group, historically located in Asturias.[citation needed] Consequently, the breed is sometimes referred to as the RAM (Roxa, Asturian Mountain).[citation needed] This group is distinct from the western Roxa cattle, despite evidence of further variability among animals and areas within the population. For centuries, breeders of the eastern Roxa group in the council of Caso and bordering valleys such as Ponga, selected for higher milk yields aimed at cheese production. This selection made a reputation for the bulls from the council of Caso because of their daughters’ higher milk yield, and changed their farms into sire exporters for the whole of the east of Asturias, playing an important part in the fixation of what nowadays we know as the Asturian Mountain breed.[citation needed]

The official census of Asturian Mountain cattle proceeds from the herdbook, which is managed[4] by La Asociación Española de criadores de ganado vacuno selecto de la raza Asturiana de la Montaña (ASEAMO, 'Spanish Association of breeders of selected cattle of the Asturian Mountain breed') since its creation in 1986.[4]

Standardized breed characteristics[edit]

The following points can be considered[weasel words] as the standard breed characteristics: Medium head with straight profile and big occipital protuberance. Small ears with much hair and slightly prominent eyes with a calm look. Horns born in the elongation of the nape of the neck, shorter and wider in the bulls, horizontal in the base and directed ahead and up with their ends directed to the back and outside. Medium neck, thin except in the male, muscled and with a big and discontinuous dewlap, which continues in little and lean withers, well-joined to the slightly muscular back but well-directed, with a slightly saddled back which ends in the hindquarters, narrow in its back diameters and slightly bent, with the birth of the tail often lifted up. Descending chest, deep and spacious breast, and well-proportioned abdomen. Short or medium extremities, beefy on the top with very thin skeletal ratios and small, round and hard hoof. Mammary glands with good development and great quality, well-implanted teats and thin and soft skin.

Brown coat, more or less discolored to cream tones, with a white band round the snout and eyes and degraded to creamy colors on the inner part of the extremities, mammary gland, inner part of the thigh and perineal areas. Intensification of the color with black hairs in the edge of the ears and less intense on the edge of the dewlap. The ends, snout, budding horns, eye circles, tail end, and scrotum circle in males, are black as well as the eyelids and eyelashes. The mucous membranes of the nose, mouth, tongue, anus, and vulva are black or slate black.

Breeding and farming[edit]

ASEAMO represents associated farmers in Asturias, Cantabria, the Basque Country, Castille-León, Madrid, and La Rioja, Spain.[4]

Despite of the slow growth of the population, industrial cross-breeding, mainly with sires of the Asturian Valley breed, has caused a decrease in the number of purebred Asturian Mountain dams. On the other hand, there is a growing demand for Asturian Mountain dams from breeders from outside Asturias for rearing in extensive systems and for industrial crossing with sires from other industrial beef breeds, which is affecting the availability for reposition stock in the home of the breed.[citation needed]

Farms raising the Asturian Mountain are typically small, with eight Asturian Mountain cows on average and a variable number of animals from other dairy or dual-purpose breeds, which make use of the little grazing near the farms. The use of the communal pastures in the mountains near the farms is used by the Asturian Mountain cows. Communal pastures are used in variable dates, usually from the beginning of April to the end of December. For the rest of the year, when the heaviest snowfalls, the animals are fed only with grass hay without any kind of supplement.[citation needed]

Commercial output[edit]

  • The basic output is the 7-8 month-old weaned calf for the autumn market.
  • 15 month-old fed calves.
  • 16-18 month-old heifers for production on great demand from extensive farmers of Spanish continental plains, because of their good behavior, rusticity and calving facility (97% of the calvings do not need any help).
  • 2.5-3 year-old bulls, used only for replacement, bred extensively, and kept under specific herd management certified by ASEAMO.

Asturian Mountain (Casina) cattle meat has the protected designation Casín beef or meat, and the breed is one of three that may be used to produce Casín cheese.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "La Raza" [The Breed]. ASEAMO.com (in Spanish). La Asociación Española de criadores de ganado vacuno selecto de la raza Asturiana de la Montaña (ASEAMO). 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2014. 
  2. ^ "Spain: Redes" (PDF). UNESCO.org. n.d. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 May 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Denominación de Origen Protegida 'Queso Casín'" [Denomination of Protected Origin 'Casín Cheese']. MAGRAMA.gob.es (in Spanish). Madrid, Spain: Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente [Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment]. 12 March 2013. Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c "La Asociación" [The Association]. ASEAMO.com (in Spanish). ASEAMO. 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2014. 
  • "Introducción: Raza Asturiana de la Montaña" [Introduction: Breed Asturian Mountain]. MAPA.es (in Spanish). Madrid, Spain: Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Medio Rural y Marino ('Ministry of the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs'). "Zootecnia: Ganadería: Clasificación de Razas" section. Archived from Asturiana de la montaña on the original Check |url= value (help) on 26 March 2010. Retrieved 3 October 2013.  (This site has been replaced with that of the re-formed ministry, Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente.)
  • "Raza bovina Asturiana de la Montaña" [Cattle breed Asturian Mountain]. MAGRAMA.gob.es (in Spanish). Madrid: Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente ('Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment'). "Zootecnia: Ganadería: Razas" section.