The Marchigiana breed derived from the long-horned cattle that reached Italy in the sixth century AD following the barbarian invasions. Today, this breed has lost many of its original somatic traits and can be defined as a "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 books. This breed has 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 Seventies, 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 National Association of Italian Beef-Cattle Breeders (ANABIC - www.anabic.it) was estabilished to promote and implement all types of initiatives aimed towards improving, developing, ad spreading the autochthonous Italian cattle breeds: Marchigiana, Chianina, Romagnola, Maremmana and Podolica. ANABIC, which came about by merging the prevously existing individual National Breed Associations, has taken on their responsabilities as far as selection is concerned and has set up a single National Herd Book for the Italian beef-cattle breeds.
The Marchigiana breed is widespread throughout the Marches, Latium, Abruzzo and Campania.
Approximately 50.000 head are enrolled with the Herd-Book.
The evolution of the Marchigiana breed into a beef-cattle type has been progressive and significant. Its stature has been decreased, its transverse diameters have been accentuated to a greater extent, its length has been increased and the 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 outstandign precocity.
It has 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 cylkindrical trunk with excellent muscle development, particularly in the buttocks and thights.
- bullls: 1.200-1.500 kg
- cows: 700-900 kg
The cows have excellent maternal capabilities and calving is natural, with the calves wighing an average of 45 kg at birth.
It also has an excellent growth capacity and in the best specimens wight gain can peak at 2 kg a day. A precdocious breed, it reaches its ideal slaughter weight at the age of 15-16 month, for a yield as high as 67%.
Marchigiana - Bull (photo www.cattlenetwork.net)
Marchigiana - Bull and cow (photo www.anabic.it)