Pinzgauer header

 

Pinzgauer Cattle

Why Pinzgauer

This moderate framed beef breed is practical because of its many outstanding characteristics:

  • Fertility
  • Early maturity
  • Adaptability & Hardiness
  • Disease resistance
  • Productivity
  • Docility
  • Feed efficiency
  • Carcass results
  • Meat quality, tenderness and flavour

Fertility
Fertility is the most important economic factor in any breeding program.
Pinzgauer bulls exhibit masculine characteristics early in life, and are fertile, aggressive breeders. Yearling bulls generally can weigh from 544 - 635 kg and have a scrotal circumference of 35 - 38 cm. Extensive research has proven that scrotal size is directly related to fertility and sperm production. While on feed as yearlings, tests have identified that Pinzgauer bulls are quick gainers with excellent feed conversion.
In spite of their aggressive breeding instincts, mature Pinzgauer bulls usually remain docile and easy to handle throughout their breeding careers. Again, their longevity is evident, with many bulls continuing to breed at 10 years of age and older with no decreases in productivity. Strong legs and hard, dark hooves carry them through many successful working seasons. Average weight at maturing is 900 - 1050 kg. Mature Pinzgauer bulls can measure up to 140 - 148 cm at the withers.
Pinzgauer bulls are renowned for the two most valuable qualities in a breeding sire - high sperm count and elevated libido. They work well in both purebred and commercial herds, therefore making Pinzgauer a practical choice for producing excellent replacement heifers and fast gaining market animals.

Early maturity
Early maturing is also evident in the Pinzgauer female. Average age at puberty is between 305 and 340 days. At one year of age, most heifers have been cycling regularly for months and are ready to conceive early in the breeding season. The "first calf" Pinzgauer exhibits strong mothering instincts paired with exceptional milk production and it is considered rare to find a Pinzgauer that will not accept her first calf or produce sufficient milk.
The Pinzgauer female is generally easy calving, with average birth weights of 38 kgs in heifer calves and 41 kgs for bull calves and a general range of 36 kgs to 45 kgs. Longevity is expected as many cows continue calving regularly past 16 years of age, easily raising big, strong calves. A mature Pinzgauer cow weighs from 544 - 680 kg and weans a calf weighing 250 - 350 kg. Pinzgauer calves grazing with their dams with no additional feed maintain a WDA (weight per day of age) of over 1.13 - 1.31 kg/day prior to weaning.

Heifers that breed ... Cows that breed back ...

Adaptability

Pinzgauer heifers in the mountains of Italy
Pinzgauer heifers in the mountains of Italy

Pinzgauers have adapted with wonderful success from their Austrian homeland to many varying climates and territories around the world. Pinzgauer herds can be found in the harsh and cold conditions of Canada, hot dusty and desolate conditions in South Africa, across the USA, and a wide variety of conditions in Australia.
Their sturdy legs, structural soundness and inherent stamina make them excellent foragers. And they are just as happy in rough mountain terrain as flat grazing land.

Disease Resistance
Pinzgauers have pigmented skin under a chestnut red coat and white markings on the back, tail and barrel. They adapt readily and easily to a variety of climates. Eye problems are rare. Smooth hair and firm, flexible skin prevents tick and other insect infestations.

Productivity
A strong mothering instinct, high milk production and calving ease make Pinzgauer cows an efficient addition to any herd. Careful selection for both meat and milk production has resulted in a female that maintains herself well enough to rebreed early in the season and produce enough milk to wean a heavy, growthy calf. Well attached udders with good teat formation are also traits of the breed. Pinzgauer females usually calve easily because the Pinzgauer Associations have focused on the careful selection of 'calving ease' sires which helps to ensure young heifers have and easy birth and provide a vigorous first calf, in what will be a long and productive breeding life.  In fact longevity of breeding life is the norm with cows still calving at 13-16 years of age.

calf suckling
Plenty of milk for fast growing calves

The milk productivity of Pinzgauer cows can be, on average, in excess of 4000 kg of milk with one of the highest butterfat contents in the beef business. The good capacity for eating large amounts of food, good temperament, maternal instinct and remarkable fertility are important elements for justifying using the Pinzgauer breed also for breeding nursing cows. That's why they are such efficient cows. It is rare to find a Pinzgauer that will not accept a first calf or not have enough milk to raise it properly, no matter what the conditions.  As such Pinzgauer and Pinzgauer cross cattle provide excellent fast growing steers.
Probably the most notable quality of the Pinzgauer as a mother is its superb milk production ability.  Undoubtedly due to their origins as a dual purpose breed Pinzgauer cows are “designed” to produce large quantities of high quality milk.
This abundance of milk production ensures high weaning weights of between 250 and 350 kg.  Even “first calving” Pinzgauers exhibit strong mothering instincts and exceptional milk production.
After weaning, the cattle destined for the meat industry gain weight rapidly by converting feed efficiently. Pinzgauers adapt to life in the feed yard easily due to their docile nature. Minimal days on feed and the ability to convert grain and forage into well-marbled beef is part of a Pinzgauer's natural inheritance. Optimum slaughter weight of 540 kg by 12 - 14 months of age can be easily achieved. Pinzgauer cattle can also perform on pasture alone and reach market weight without the use of grain.
Milk production, handling ease and longevity make them practical in both purebred and commercial operations.

Pinzgauers convert grain and forage into well-marbled, tasty, tender beef.

Docility
Pinzgauers are naturally docile. This helps in all aspects of handling, a great advantage in helping conception rates for AI, and the reduction of chances of “Dark Cutting” carcasses. It also makes them most suitable for smaller acreages.

Feed Efficiency
Pinzgauer Cattle are extremely hardy and do well even on inexpensive or fairly poor feed or sparse grazing, and survive well in both Alpine cold and tropical heat.

Meat QualityPinzgauer beef
Today's consumer wants tender, tasty, low-fat beef every time they eat it. This is difficult to achieve, as fat content is believed to contribute to the taste and tenderness of beef. Since quality is now the major focus of consumer demand, the move toward AAA marbling is gaining momentum in the beef industry. Overseas tests have shown that Pinzgauer cattle possess the unique capability to disperse fat evenly throughout muscle while minimizing external carcass fat cover, leading to tender, tasty beef with little waste from trimming.

Breeder Alliance (TBBA)  A high percentage of  Pinzgauers now being DNAtested by GeneStar for the Tenderness Genes are showing that most are showing both of the tenderness genes present in the first Pinzgauers being tested.   There have been a total of 60 Pinzgauer cattle Tenderness DNA tested for GeneSTAR tenderness markers. 53 animals tested GeneSTAR 2 Stars (88.3%). This is over 12% better than Angus and Angus X animals tested. Only 1 tested GeneSTAR 0 (1.6%) compared to 17% for Hereford. Tenderness is heritable; therefore TENDER SIRES HAVE TENDER CALVES. No single trait should be used to select sires but when you consider the docility of Pinzgauers, the mother ability, the early maturity, the climate adaptability and ease of maintenance, Tenderness should be the final straw for selecting PINZGAUERS. 

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