Piedmontese cows are routinely milked by hand each
day, as they range at some 8000 feet elevation in
the Alps summer pastures. The cows have calves at
side, but are milked once each day...with the milk
then processed into cheese. There are no fences,
and the Italian shepards move the herds (some more
than 200 head) to fresh grazing areas, milk and make
the cheese in conditions very like those of a 1000
the entire world, this breed has evolved in just
this one small area. There are more cattle in Texas,
USA today than there are Piedmontese in the entire
registers the fullblood (100% pure, derived from
Italian seedstock) in a distinct category to
preserve the gene pool. NAPA does not use
any "up-graded purebred" registration categories,
but papers all cross-breds, or fullbloods
that cannot verify pedigree, in the Naturalean™ Registry.
must have 2-copies of the Myostatin gene, and
Naturalean™ must have at least 1-copy of
the gene, in order to be eligible for registry.
So, are Piedmontese considered
Bos-Taurus or Bos-Indicus ?
Even with genetic research
to confirm the influence of Bos-Indicus (Brahman)
on the Italian white breeds, from some time long
past, the genetic negative influences of Brahman
on meat quality are definitely NOT seen in the
Piedmontese cattle. Click HERE to
read a PDF article from the Fall 2006 NAPA Magazine,
this topic ... and be sure to use your BACK button
to return to this page.
some 25 thousand years ago....
years ago a migration of Zebu or Brahman cattle from
Pakistan made its way into north western Italy. Blocked
by the Alps Mountains from moving further, these cattle
stayed and intermingled with the local "native" cattle
- the Auroch. Click HERE for
an article on the Aurochs in PDF file.
blend of Bos Taurus (Auroch) and Bos Indicus (Brahman)
evolved in that harsh terrain over thousands of years
of natural selection to become the Piedmontese breed
of today. There are several breeds from Italy which
also show the influence of this Brahman migration -
these are the so-called Italian "white breeds"...but
the similarity to the Piedmontese does not go further
than the color. All Italian white breeds, Piedmontese
included, are born 'fawn' or tan and change to the
grey-white color, with black skin pigmentation. The
Piedmontese, however, also carry genetic traits absolutely
unique to them.
Italian Herdbook was opened in 1887, after the appearance
of 'double muscling' was noted in the cattle in 1886.
Over one hundred years later, the genetic component
which gives rise to the greatly increased 'muscle'
(beef) production of this breed was discovered. MYOSTATIN.
occurs naturally in all mammals. Its effect is to restrict muscle
growth. However, when the gene has naturally mutated,
as is the case with the Piedmontese cattle, it can
become in-active and no longer prevents muscle development.
This allows for what has been called "double muscling" -
a very mis-leading term. In reality, the disfunctional
Myostatin removes the "growth governor" and
allows these cattle to develop on average 14 percent more muscle
mass than cattle with functional myostatin.
Italy, the Piedmontese have been (and many still are
today) utilized as a dual-purpose animal...having very
rich milk used for specialty cheese production and
beef marketed as a premium product.
of January 2003, all A.I. fullblood Piedmontese sires
in Italy for the past 30 years have been tested for
the myostatin gene - and ALL have carried 2 copies.
recommends the Piedmontese as a Terminal Beef Breed.
1994, the most recent Italian study on the milk production
traits of the breed in that country are explained
in this report from ANABORAPI: The
Piemontese used to be a double purpose, beef and
milk, breed in the past. In more recent times the
number of Piemontese cows milked declined, due to
specialization for beef production and to the higher
work requirements for milking.
The number of Piemontese cows still milked is around 20-25 %.
Since 1976 Piemontese cattle have been considered as beef specialized animals,
therefore cows are not systematically controlled for milk production anymore.
Last information available about milk production are from a research conducted
by the University of Torino in 1994 involving a sample of 15 herds milking
Average milk production, referred to a 250 days lactation, was 1364 kg in the
first lactation, around 1600 kg in second and later lactations.
Average butterfat and protein contents were respectively 3.64 % and 3.45 %.
The variants of protein more favourable for cheese making as type B of b-lactoglobulin
and type B of k-casein were present in the milk with higher frequency compared
to less favourable variants, indicating the good quality of milk from Piemontese
cows for cheese.
As we do not have individual information for milk production of cows, we cannot
provide any advise about sire bloodlines more suitable for milking purposes.
Associazione Nazionale Allevatori Bovini di Razza Piemontese
Strada Trinità 32/a 12061 Carrù (CN) Italia
tel. +39-0173-750791 fax +39-0173-750915