Cattle breeds: Burlina

Cattle breeds: Burlina

Origin and diffusion area

The "Burlina" is an autochthonous bovine population of the Veneto region, and, until around 1930, it was the most widespread dairy breed on the farms of the Asiago plateau, the Berici Hills, the Lessini Mountains, Monte Grappa, both on the Vicenza side and Treviso (in the census of 1931 the consistency reached 15,000 heads in Veneto). The Burlina has an origin common to the other piebald breeds of Northern Europe and would have come to our lands brought by the Cimbri, a population originally from the current Jutland peninsula (Denmark). This hypothesis is reinforced by the fact that the inhabitants of the Asiago plateau are mainly made up of Cimbri and that anatomically the Burlines are similar to the East Frisian breeds of Holland and Denmark, for example for the great development of the basin, the length of the head, the subtlety of the neck, the characters of the skin, etc ... From historical information it appears that the Cimbri peoples, beaten by the Roman legions around 100 BC, withdrew from the plain going up the mountains between the Carega, the Pasubio, the Plateau di Asiago and in the mountainous complex of Grappa where they settled. Since this is an isolated territory, the inhabitants kept their habits and customs unchanged for a long time and therefore it can be considered that this condition was maintained also for their animals (Chiodi, 1927).
Currently (2008) of the entire Burlina population, 300 cows remain registered in the relative Registry.
Since 1985 the Registry of autochthonous bovine populations and ethnic groups with limited diffusion has been established. This register was established to safeguard the endangered cattle breeds that are bred in Italy and to safeguard these genetic heritages. The following breeds were admitted: Agerolese, Bianca Val Padana (Modenese), Burlina, Cabannina, Calvana, Cinisara, Garfagnina, Modicana, Cow Pisana, Pezzata Rossa dOropa, Pinzgau, Pontremolese, Pustertaler, Reggiana, Sarda, Sardo-Modicana, Varzese . National herd book since 1985.
In the past, different appellations were used for the heads belonging to this bovine population; the best known are:
- Binda or Binda of the mountains, of Germanic derivation with the meaning of "Pezzata" or "Pezzata degli Altipiani" for its coat and because it populated the highlands of Veneto;
- Bassanese, because it was bred in the Bassano del Grappa area;
- Balzana, for its black / white piebald coat and the white color of the shins;
- Boccarda or Sboccalona, ​​for its characteristic of having a generous mouthparts;
- Cow of the ledges or "sengiarola", for its great ability to graze in the most impervious and rocky soils.

Reintroduction project of the indigenous Burlina breed in the Vicenza area
Province of Vicenza - La Decima Farm,
Via Europa Unita 12
36030 Montecchio Precalcino (Vicenza)

Morphological characteristics

Size: medium-small
Height at the withers:
- Males: 130-132 cm
- Females: 120-125 cm
Medium weight:
- Males: 600-700 kg
- Females: 400 kg

Coat and pigmentation
Shiny black piebald coat with prevalence of black over white; white coloration of the lower part of the limbs and possibly extended also to the region of the straps, the grassella, the side and the front of the croup; star in front also very dilated with irregular edges; lower third of the tail stem and white bow; absence of back-lumbar line clearer than the coat; black horns of young men of both sexes while they are yellowish at the base and black at the tip in adults;
sincipite with tuft of hair of the same color as the dark background of the coat; muzzle of light slate color, or marbled, with white edging, not always clearly delimited; inside of the clear auricle; completely yellowish or yellowish claws with dark stripes; perivulvular, perianal and depigmented scrotum skin (although breeders gave preference to bulls with dark scrotum).
Light, shorter in the bull, finer and longer in the cow, broad forehead with marked depression between the orbital arches; slightly concave profile, long nose with broad muzzle; large, bright eyes on the head, large ears.
Light, with abundant dewlap.
Light, slightly curved forward in the bulls and high in the cows, with a rounded section and an accentuated thickness in the males, much lighter in the females and with an elliptical section in the horizontal part.
stretched; withers not open or sharp; straight and wide lumbar spine line, wide lumbar region; rectangular and slightly sloping croup; bulky belly in the cow; sacral spine not very pronounced; tail well attached, thin, long so that the stem slightly surpasses the hock, with abundant bow.
Front limbs
Adherent shoulders, not spread or protruding; normal hamstrings, shoulders, arms and forearms with little muscle; short and light shins, dry joints; regular nails well developed and not spread apart.
Regular appiombi; muscular buttocks, with a straight or slightly convex profile in the bulls, sometimes with an oblique profile from top to bottom, from back to front in cows; dry and light hocks, with regular opening, short and light shins; well developed and not spread claws.
Breast system
Globose breasts, with an elongated base, with uniform and well developed quarters, with soft, fine, limp and spongy skin after milking, relatively long hats; the above numbered nipples are appreciated; well developed milk veins and gates.
Elastic skin, easily detachable from the underlying fabrics, smooth and fine fur.

Productive characteristics

Dual-purpose breed with a prevalence of milk (almost 5,000 kg / head).
Very rustic and capable of exploiting lean and mountain pastures.
Long productive career and reduced middle age at birth
Today bred for milk.

Burlina breed cow

Breed bull

Burline among the pastures of Monte Grappa

Atlas of native breeds
Daniele Bigi, Alessio Zanon - Edagricole

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