RAETHORN PINZGAUER

RAETHORN PINZGAUER was formed in 2012 with the purchase of 5 heifers and embryos from Bavaria in Germany.

Semen was purchased from Austria, Germany and Denmark and the herd has been built up using AI, ET and IVF as well as natural mating.

Pinzgauer are probably descended from the original “Celtic” tribal cattle. Their distinctive markings seem to be strongly represented  in herds formed wherever the Celts travelled.  Anthropology and Archaeology prove the original Celtic tribes originated in the Halstatt regions of Austria from around 600BC. Of course the Celts famously migrated to various regions including Western France, the UK and Ireland and even into Spain/ Portugal. In the UK alone the Gloucester, Glamorgan, Riggit Galloway and Irish Moiled cattle show an uncanny resembance to the Pinzgauer. Cattle of course always were one of the greatest trading tools.. and the Celts were great traders!! Will genomics ever prove the link, and where did they come from originally!??

The Pinzgauer has a reputation which it upholds as one of the most “beautiful” cattle breeds in the World. But we chose the Pinzgauer as we could see the potential of the breed which, when used a crossing breed could bring an abundance of Hybrid Vigour to many of the cattle breeds in the UK. We had been searching for a beef breed which would tick numerous boxes and the Pinzgauer appeared to excel in what we were looking for;

1) Fertility.

Pinzgauer cattle are noted for their fertility. They hit puberty very early, and the bulls are noted for their virility.

2) Good Balance of Milk and Beef production (Balance of Maternal Traits).

The Pinzgauer are a dual purpose breed, although there has been a development of beef and dairy strains. Indeed there are many dairy Pinzgauer herds still thriving in Europe, particularly in their native Austria.

3) Meat Quality.

This was one of the big ones for us, especially for people who are looking to market beef into the quality end of the market/ artisan markets/ grass fed beef. The Pinzgauer has excelled consistently  in various trials, better than any other breed (including our native British Breeds) in two combined traits of Tenderness and Marbling. The Austrians have prized their Pinzgauer beef for generations, and of course they probably don’t have the volumes to be exporting the beef.. so they keep it and enjoy it at home! This represents an opportunity for Pinzgauer breeders in the UK, if there is ever a move to a grading system which recognises Quality (in terms of eating satisfaction) combined with Quantity. At the moment the EUROP carcase grading system is geared towards quantity, often at the expense of quality.

4) Docility.

Domesticated for thousands of years, and designed for use in small herd situations,  these cattle have been bred to work with man and generally they are very easy to deal with and have excellent temperaments.

5) Calving Ease.

These compliment our Angus cattle in this respect. We select heavily for calving ease, and find the Pinzgauer excellent in this respect. They are fairly narrow across the shoulder and calves are usually around 32- 36 for females 34-40kg for bull calves at birth.

6) Longevity.

In Austria we saw many cows still producing calves each year in their late teens, still with excellent udders and feet.

7) Size.

(600-750kg).

8) Ability to calve down at 2 years old.

In this way they compiment our objectives with our Angus herd. we find no problems calving Pinzgauer cattle at 2 years of age.

9) Good feet and excellent udders.

The original dairy influence on our cattle is evident; but not like a modern dairy cow; they are designed to milk high in the pastures of Austria, grazing often at 2000 metres, on native organic pastures. To survive in these climates they must be able to handle extremes in geography and climate, climbing often among boulders and scree on 45 degree hillsides. Good locomotion and feet are a prerequisite for survival.

10) Adaptability.

These animals appear to adapt to extreme environments with ease and we find herds thriving cross Alpine regions and in Australia, South Africa, Slovakia, Italy, Canada and USA.

Pinzgauers at Thorneydykes by Catherine Ingleby Art