BEEF CATTLE BREEDS I

Thanks to the climate and geography that we have in Spain, there are a multitude of breeds of cattle both indigenous and integrated (such as the Charolesa, the Friesian or the Limousine). Most of these breeds are intended for the production of meat or are mixed while others are dedicated exclusively to the production of milk such as the Friesian.

Read on to find out which are some of our favorites and the most common in Spain:

RETINTA

It is an autochthonous breed promoted by dry Spain and one of the best known together with the Galician Rubia due to its designation of origin and its presence in the market.

Although originally they were located mainly in the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula , today it is present in Castillas, Andalusia, Extremadura and even in the Balearic Islands. Outside of Spain we can find it in Portugal and Latin American countries such as Colombia, Argentina, Nicaragua and Brazil.

The characteristics that identify it are its red-mahogany coat color (from which its name comes) – ranging from the darkest to the lightest tones-, its yellowish-white horns with dark tips – whose direction will depend on its sex – and Despite having a maternal aptitude, she also has great strength and rusticity .

There was a time when this breed was also destined for field work and for this reason it is adapted to dry environments, it is resistant to parasitic diseases and, in addition, they have a high productive and reproductive performance. In fact, females begin to reproduce after approximately 3 years, resting for more than a year between parturition and parturition.

Its food comes mainly from forages from the pastures or browsing if these are scarce, complementing it with straw, hay and feed depending on the region where it is found.

Its flesh is of an intense pink or red color, juicy and very tasty . The commercialization of the meat is certified exclusively as “RETINTO MEAT” which, in addition, is characterized by its low index of saturated fatty acids in relation to the total.

LIMOUSINE OR LIMOUSINE

This breed has been integrated in Spain for more than 20 years and is originally from the French region of Limoges. The reason for its integration is due to its great adaptability to our environment and climate in a multitude of areas with great differences between them. Precisely for this reason, it can be found throughout the national territory.

It is identified by its red fur, its elliptical horns, its short neck and its amount of muscle.

The females of this breed stand out especially for their fertility and the ease of calving of the females. In fact, most limousine cows have their first calving before they are three years old and have an average of seven calvings in their 10+ years of life.

Its diet is mainly based on grasses, although depending on the area in which it is located, it will also include other natural resources such as stubble or acorns.

It has a great yield for the production of meat together with the Charolesa breed and, many times, it is crossed with autochthonous breeds such as the Retinta or the Avileña. In addition, it has a low amount of fat and is of recognized quality, being able to find products from calves, steers and adults on the market. In the case of calf production, it is common to find crosses between the Limousine or the Charolesa or with the native Retina breed.

For all this and for its profitability, it is one of the breeds that are most used worldwide, especially in Europe.

LIDIA

We are facing an autochthonous breed of promotion and one of the oldest, not only at the national level. It has been used mainly in bullfighting since the 18th century. However, it is also used in the production of beef.

Some of its most prominent characteristics are its sexual dimorphism , morphological differences, and large short-hooked horns.

They also stand out for having a multitude of different coats due to their wide genetic variety . This is mainly due to the encastes or crosses that exist between the castes. For this reason, their coat is variable, although the black color predominates, we can also find blonde, brown or red tones among others.

There are seven foundational castes used for crosses:

  • Morucho-Castilian caste
  • Navarrese caste
  • Beautiful view caste
  • Jijona caste
  • Caste Atanasio-Fernández
  • Andalusian caste
  • Cabrera caste
  • Vazqueña caste

Its geographical distribution covers almost the entire Spanish territory, but its presence on the Andalusian plateau and Extremadura stands out especially .

As for its production system , it is carried out in a way that optimally preserves the environment, taking advantage of natural resources and avoiding doing it in environments that are not its own. These environments will depend on their location , since some are in mountain territories and others are near the sea.

As a general rule, males live with their mothers for about nine months and after a year they are separated from the females since, after 16 months, their sexual maturity begins . In the case of females, between 2 and a half and 3 and a half years they begin to reproduce.

Due to genetic selection that has been carried out over the years, the behavior of this breed is rather violent. But, little by little, its meat is gaining ground in our kitchens. Who can say no to a plate of fighting bull’s tail with stewed potatoes?

A curiosity is that the color red does not alter them, it is actually movement.

Although in Spain there are around 40 breeds of cattle , these are some of the ones we wanted to show. However, in order to provide more comprehensive information, we will make a second publication with other breeds that are also common in our country. Which ones would you like us to talk about? Let us know!

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