Romagnola-The Great White Italian Breed

Duck River Romagnola


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Developed in Italy's Po Valley by the crossing of Podolic cattle with indigenous strains. They were consolidated in the nineteenth century in the province of Forli. They were crossed with Chianina during the period 1850-80. At the world exhibition in Paris in 1900 the Romagnola was distinguished as the best beef breed. A herd book was opened in 1956.

Romagnola is one of the larger breeds in the U.S. and is known for the ability to search for and survive on limited grazing range. The cows are white to light gray, while the bulls have more intense coloring; the neck and the area around the eyes are dark. They have black tipped horns. In both sexes the skin, eyelids, anus, tail brush and muzzle are black, as is the vulva in female animals. Calves are reddish golden in their first months of life. They are extremely well muscled, are tolerant of both heat and cold, have good dispositions and reach sexual maturity relatively early for a large breed. Rapid gain, economical feed conversion, good dressing percentages and a good quality carcass are traits.

Bulls are noteworthy for their excellent libido, clean sheaths, pendulous scrotums and a mature weight of around 2700 pounds. Cows, which are known for their well-tucked udders, weigh between 1100 and 1600 pounds.

For centuries the main purpose of these animals was to assist man in tilling the fertile plains, with the production of beef as a secondary consideration.

The fertile soils and high quality forage contributed significantly to the evolution towards a progressively more muscular type while the continued use of Romagnolas as living tractors ensured their structural soundness and dynamic traits.

International interest in the Romagnola has been steadily increasing since the first cattle left Italy for Scotland in the early 1970s.

Today the breed is present in the Great Britain, Ireland, North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, and Africa.

The international distribution is living proof of the breed's genetic potential. The Romagnola is popular because it has passed severe testing under widely varying environmental and market conditions.

Italy retains the world genetic leadership because it still has greater numbers of Romagnolas than any other country and because of the number of bloodlines in Italy which are yet to be exploited by overseas breeders. These bloodlines are of paramount importance for the consolidation of the position the breed has reached at home and overseas.