Italian Mediterranean buffalo

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Italian Mediterranean
Bufala Agro Pontino.JPG
Buffalo in the Agro Pontino
Conservation status Not at risk
Other names Bufala Mediterranea Italiana
Country of origin Italy
Distribution throughout Italy, principally Campania
Type River
Use Dairy, meat; formerly draught
Traits
Weight
  • Male: average 500–600 kg
    up to 800 kg
  • Female: average 300–450 kg
    up to 650 kg
Height
  • Male: average 143 cm
  • Female: average 135 cm
Coat skin dark slate-grey; hair black

The Italian Mediterranean (Italian: Bufala Mediterranea Italiana) is an Italian breed of water buffalo.[1] It is of the River sub-type of water buffalo and is similar to the buffalo breeds of Hungary, Romania and the Balkan countries. It is the only indigenous water buffalo breed in Italy.[2] A herd-book was opened in 1980, and the breed was officially recognised in 2000.

History[edit]

The buffalo may have been introduced into Italy in Roman times, or during the Barbarian invasions of the Italian peninsula.[2]

In 1979 a national association of buffalo breeders, the Associazione Nazionale Allevatori Specie Bufalina, was formed, and a genealogical herd-book for the buffalo was opened in the following year.[2] The Mediterranea Italiana breed was officially recognised in 2000.[3]

Use[edit]

In the past the buffalo was widely used as a draught animal. Buffalo also kept waterways and drainage channels clear of weeds, swimming in the deeper parts and wading in the shallows.[4]

The Mediterranea Italiana is raised and selectively bred principally for the production of the buffalo milk used to make buffalo mozzarella, notably the Mozzarella di Bufala Campana of Campania, which has Denominazione di origine protetta (DOP) status.[2] Other dairy products including burrata, caciotta di bufala, ricotta di bufala, scamorza di bufala, stracchino di bufala, stracciatella di bufala and yoghurt are also made from the milk. Lactation lasts on average 277 days, and usually yields 1600–1800 kg of milk; yields of 2000–3000 kg per lactation are not uncommon. In 2012 a total of 192,455,300 kg of buffalo milk was produced in Italy, about 1.7% of total milk production in that year;[5] the fat content was an average of 7.92%.[6]

Buffalo are butchered both for fresh meat and for preserved meat products such as bresaola di bufalo.[2] In 2012 a total of 118,653 buffalo were slaughtered in Italy, for a total live weight of 47,416,700 kg, approximately 2.7% of the total weight of bovines slaughtered that year. The average carcass yield was 50.6%.[7]

Population[edit]

In 1953 the total number of buffalo in Italy was estimated at 40,000 head.[2] The numbers of buffalo reported by the Istituto Nazionale di Statistica in 2012[8] and 2013[9] were, by region:

Region 2012 2013
Basilicata 626 430
Calabria 778 271
Campania 260,153 266,236
Emilia–Romagna 158 409
Friuli–Venezia Giulia 80 39
Lazio 66,546 69,244
Lombardy 3,394 3,542
Marche 49,709
Molise 1,912 745
Piedmont 795 49
Puglia 7,470 5,999
Sardinia 5,139 2,507
Sicily 768 2,454
Trentino–Alto Adige 8
Tuscany 110 48
Umbria 29 20
Veneto 895 957
Total      348,861      402,659

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Breed data sheet: Bufala mediterranea italiana. Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed September 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Daniele Bigi, Alessio Zanon (2008). Atlante delle razze autoctone: Bovini, equini, ovicaprini, suini allevati in Italia (in Italian). Milan: Edagricole. ISBN 9788850652594. p. 92–95.
  3. ^ Home (in Italian). Associazione nazionale allevatori specie bufalina. Accessed February 2014.
  4. ^ Un animale straordinario: Passato (in Italian). Consorzio di Tutela della Mozzarella di Bufala Campana. Accessed February 2014.
  5. ^ Tavola L02 - Latte raccolto presso le aziende agricole dall'industria lattiero-casearia per tipo (quantità in quintali) . Dettaglio per ripartizione geografica - Anno 2012 (in Italian). Istituto Nazionale di Statistica. Accessed February 2014.
  6. ^ Tavola L04 - Quantità di latte e crema a disposizione dell' industria lattiero-casearia, per specie animale (quantità in quintali) - Anno 2012 (in Italian). Istituto Nazionale di Statistica. Accessed February 2014.
  7. ^ Tavola AMR13 - Bestiame macellato a carni rosse - (Gennaio - Dicembre) - Anno 2012 (in Italian). Istituto Nazionale di Statistica. Accessed February 2014.
  8. ^ Tavola B01B - Consistenza del bestiame bovino e bufalino al 1° dicembre. Bovini di 2 anni e più, bufalini e totali (numero di capi). Dettaglio per regione - Anno 2012 (in Italian). Istituto Nazionale di Statistica. Accessed February 2014.
  9. ^ Tavola B01B - Consistenza del bestiame bovino e bufalino al 1° dicembre. Bovini di 2 anni e più, bufalini e totali (numero di capi). Dettaglio per regione - Anno 2013 (in Italian). Istituto Nazionale di Statistica. Accessed July 2014.