By kindly permission of Dr. J. Reichwein.

Blonde d´Aquitaine - Origin and Source of the breed

In the South-West of France, between Bordaux and Toulouse, three breeds were at home since the Middle-Ages: in Aquitaine, around the river Garonne the broad framed "Garonaise de plaine", in the hill country the "Garonaise de coteau" and in the Pyrenees the middle framed Blonde de Pyrenees", which is adapted to mountainous terrains. In the vicinity of Toulouse a middle framed, compact breed was at home, the "Blonde de Quercy". These were typical "three use breeds" (milk, meat, pulling force).

Since 1962 they have been consolidated into one pure beef breed in one stud book.

Blonde d´Aquitaine - the spreading of the breed.

Emanating from the southwest of France where today 550.000 Blonde beef cattle, the breed spread over all over Europe, as well as South America, due to its high heat resistance. In Europe, the first to take over the breed were the economically minded Dutch. In Germany just under 1200 stud book beef cattle are being kept in Northrhein-Westfalia and Hesse.

Blonde d´Aquitaine - breed typical traits.

Blonde dŽAquitaine cattle, with its bright yellow to wheat color, it's short hair, the fair areas around the eyes and it's planum nasolabiale is one of the broad framed beef cattle breeds. The unpigmented mucosa appears pink. The breed stands out for its body length and rectangular form. As a pure beef breed all meat carrying body parts like haunch, back and shoulders are very well developed.

In order to guarantee easy calving, the straight pelvis must be long rather than broad in rectangular form with a large inner pelvis diameter. The fine bone structure and skin take on a special meaning.

A fully grown cow with withers of 1,50 m will weigh between 900 and 1100 kg. A bull is 10 cm higher and weighs between 1200 and 1500 kg.

Blonde d´Aquitaine - husbandry.

The keeping of the Blonde d'Aquitaine is without difficulty. The beef cattle herd is calm and adaptable concerning feed and climate. This permits extensive husbandry with pastures in the summer and hay or grassilage in the winter. The enormous potential for growth of the breed evidences itself wit intensive feeding. Daily weight gains of up to 2 kg with bullocks are possible offhand.

The German herds, numbering between 20 and 70, in some cases up to 150 animals, are put to pasture in summer, which lasts, depending on the location, from April to November (some breeders keep there herd outside all year), and fed with hay and / or grassilage or corn silage, depending on the region. The calves are thankful for the extra feed in the calves cot, especially in the fall, when the growth of grass dwindles.

Blonde d´Aquitaine - breeding qualities.

Longevity, fertility and good mother qualities guarantee high productivity. First calving age averages at 2,5 years. Pure production farms have their heifers give birth at 2, by inseminating them with semen from bulls which have been tested for easy calving.

The average cow reaches an age of 11 years with around 8 calves. Elite cows are used for breeding up to an age of 15 years, naturally producing a calf per year.

The good forming of the Blonde d' Aquitaine's large pelvis encourages easy calving. Calves pass the birth canal with ease, being slender and long in build, having delicate limbs and a fine, long head. Despite these characteristics calves have a high birth weight of 47 kg (male) and 44 kg (female). The musculature in shoulders, back and haunches develops by the age of 3 to 4 weeks.

Blonde d´Aquitaine - marketing of the breed.

The breed is suited for all forms of production:

    Dairy cows
    Weaned calves (between 6 months and 1 year of age)

When kept in pasture with the beef cattle, calves can weigh up to 380 kg in 8 months. With intensive fattening they reach a live weight of 600 to 700 kg in 14 to 16 months.

The clincher for the Blonde d' Aquitaine is the carcass:

The animals can be slaughtered at any age.

The Form of shoulders, back and haunches often guarantees an E-Rating with an exploitation of 65 to 70%, which is only made possible by the small bone percentage, the relatively small digestive tract and the strong development of prime cuts.

An undisputable advantage of the Blonde d' Aquitaine breed is the ability to have only a minimal fat percentage in the carcass, which stays the same all of the animal's life. This is one of the main characteristics of the breed and at the same time explains it's incomparably low own requirements in feeding, for fat building in a mammal uses up more energy than muscle building.

Tests in Europe and in Northrhein-Westfalia have confirmed this: Blonde d' Aquitaine bulls have by far the lowest own requirements in creating one kilogram of weight gain.

Blonde d´Aquitaine - beef quality

Blonde dŽAquitaine beef has been known for it's fibrousness since its beginning. Despite a minimal percentage of surface fat the inner muscular fat storage is very good, which results in a great taste.

The beef quality is outstanding from diary cattle trough weaned calves (between 6 months and 1 year of age) to bullocks.

Despite minimal fat storage the intramuscular fat content is sufficient to guarantee superior taste.

But the meat of older animals also has a very high quality, which makes high profits for older carcasses possible.

The special tenderness and tastiness lead to the marketing of Blonde beef in our neighbors France and the Netherlands under a special certification mark in quality stores.

In France highest prices are being achieved for the Blonde d' Aquitaine breed under the "Label Rouge" thereby distancing it from other beef breeds.

Blonde d´Aquitaine - cross breeding

The Blonde bull is employed to improve the beef production and quality of other, predominantly precocious beef breeds or in milk herds, either through artificial insemination or using stud bulls. This increases daily weight gain, the final weight and exploitation by 4 to 8 percent, thereby raising the productivity of the business.

Moreover this reduces the percentage of bone, sinew and fat, whilst increasing valuable parts as haunches and back.