The Piemontese is a medium-sized breed with an extraordinary ability to convert forage and pasture into beef. It has a fine body structure, extremely high muscularity and a thin, elastic skin. It also combines a high dressing-out percentage with a large number of excellent retail cuts that exceeds the yield of other beef breeds.
The Piemontese has a minimal fat covering, but enough intramuscular fat to bring out the tenderness and the tastiness of the meat.
The males are ready for slaughter at the age of 15-18 months, upon reaching 550-650 kg of weight. The females are slaughtered at a lower weight of 400-450 kg, which they reach about 13-14 months of age.
The dressing-out percentage is 65-68%, with peaks of 72%. The carcasses belong to classes S and E of the S-EUROP classification.
These characteristics indicate that the Piemontese breed, either as a purebred or as a crossbred, boasts the highest daily growth rate in meat and the best feed conversion index, even through its daily weight growth is lower than in larger beef breeds.
There are approximately 350000 Piemontese cattle in Italy.
The goal when breeding the Piemontese is to produce easily born calves with a high growth potential and well developed muscular masses, and to breed females with good calving ability. Selected traits can be divided into two types: productive traits (related to meat production) and reproductive traits (related to calving).
All indices are expressed on the same scale. This scale is based on 100, which is the average genetic value of all A.I. sires, and has a standard deviation of 10. The best 15% of all sires have values exceeding 110, whereas only the best 2% of sires have an index above 120.
On-station performance testing increases the accuracy of comparisons between the bulls, because the environmental factors affecting the results (feeding, housing, health treatments, etc.) are the same for each animal. As a result, the differences observed between the animals are mostly due to their genetic potential.
The functional suitability of bulls is also assessed through morphological evaluation; the legs are evaluated to calculate a genetic index that is included with the selection indices.
The result of a calving is influenced by calf size and by the dam’s ability to calve (which is mainly determined by her pelvic area). The simultaneous presence of these two biological factors results in two traits; namely, Birth ease and calving ease.
Each year, over 80000 calving records are collected and registered in the Piemontese Herd Book.
Two selection indices are used for the Piemontese breed: the breeding index and the meat index.
The breeding index aims to identify the best sires for producing breeding females; the meat index seeks to select the best sires for producing animals to be fattened.
BREEDING INDEX = 0.34 * calving ease + 0.14 * birth ease + 0.25 * muscularity + 0.20 * growth + 0.05 * docility + 0.02 * legs
MEAT INDEX = 0.12 * calving ease + 0.36 * birth ease + 0.25 * muscularity + 0.20 * growth + 0.05 * docility + 0.02 * legs
The difference between the two indices lies in the different weights assigned to calving ease and birth ease. Reproductive traits account for 48% of both selection indices, productive traits for 45% and docility and legs for 7%, respectively.
Each year, 216 young bulls are selected from the Piemontese population, which includes approximately 120000 breeding females. The young bulls come from a mating program that is operated directly by Anaborapi and mates the top A.I. bulls with the top cows of the breed.
For further information and a catalogue, please visit: www.anaborapi.it