Browns have been reared in the Valtellina for centuries. Raising this type of Brown means that we have very strong, rustic animals, capable of adapting to three types of pasture zones. These are in the lowest parts of the valley, the intermediate areas (‘maggengo”) and on the mountain slopes.
The Bruna Alpina Valtellinese (Brown Alpine Valtellinese) was traditionally seen as a breed that could be employed in three different ways – as working cows or for their milk or meat. It has been considered a great producer of milk and meat of top quality. So until the 1960s what gave this breed its great economic value was its flexibility.
But in the latter half of the 60s, there developed even greater pressure to improve the economics of using the Brown breed and to make its rearing more profitable. At that time far more attention began to be paid to large-scale milk production which led to a big expansion in the breed.
In another development, more focus was put on becoming efficient from a scientific point of view and to find the best ways of working with the Brown breed in general.
Thanks to this type of development, in the 70s and 80s it became possible to find Browns in three different locations: the traditional Alpine territories, the islands and southern part of Italy and the Pianura Padano (the plains of the Po), the agricultural zone par excellence.
The breeding of the traditional Brown breed was also enhanced by breeding in Brown Canadians. This mix had profound consequences, both for increasing the potential for production as well as for improving the biological aspects and broadening the blood pool.
The decision to raise this breed comes from a deep commitment on our part, and it is fed by the desire to offer our clients products of top quality. Our cows are able to sustain considerable production levels of high-quality milk, rich in both protein and fat. The milk from our cows gives optimal yields to our dairy in which it is perfectly suited to the making of the cheeses that are regional specialisations of the Valtellina.
SELECTION AND CHECKS
All of our herd traces its lineage from the “Libro Genealogico dei Bovini di Razza Bruna” (the geneological guide to the bovine Brown breed) and is subject to checks by the association APA di Sondrio (Associazione Provinciale Allevatori della provincia di Sondrio/ Breeders Association for the province of Sondrio). This association is a member of the national association ANARB (Associazione Nazionale Allevatori di Razza Bruna/ National Breeders Association for the Brown breed). Our starting point for selecting cows is based exclusively on an examination of their gene type. Experts in the past sought to make correlations between production capacity and external physical factors, and we think some of these correlations are still valid today.
– quality of coat
– certain characteristics of the udders
– width of the intercostal (ribcage) area
Other aspects, however, such as:
– small horns
– colour of the coat
– round shape
have been abandoned because no useful conclusions could be drawn from these factors. Today when we talk of the beauty of a beast, we are talking about its functional beauty.