In Lombardy, in the Franciacorta area, the farmer has decided to breed his Hereford cattle with a rearing system which is very innovative in that region. The “Il Colmetto” farm, in Brescia Province, has a herd of 20 cows, 10 calves and 5 heifers. Rearing is semi-wild with the possibility to get intoa shade windbreaks shelter, thus allowing great freedom to the herd. Grazing area is 200 hectares of permanent grassland managed with some of the most common species in that region, including Lolium perenne, Festuca rubra, Poa pratensis, Trifolium repens. During the whole spring season, the animals feed themselves exclusively by grazing, while in winter they are given a hay mixture composed by grasses and legumes. The hay mixture is obtained from those parts of the grassland areas that are not occupied by cows. Mobile paddocks are used to mark the grazing area, using electrified mobile fences. These can be easily moved when necessary, depending on the expected livestock load. The estimated required area is about 1 hectare per week that the herd consumes freely. Another very important aspect concerns the breed purity maintenance: the breeder decided to use only artificial insemination to preserve all breed characteristics. During heat period, cows are moved in dedicated paddock to allow the artificial insemination. Breed management is based on the classic cow-calf vision without milk production, just used for calf needs. The meat is sold directly in the farm shop and, in part, cooked and served at the “Il Colmetto” farmhouse.
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