Saturday, 23 August 2014

New photos from Kempen~Broek

Ok, new is not entirely correct as these photos were published at in february this year (check out that blog, it has a lot of interesting photos and posts). But I think they might be new to a lot of people, so I post them here. 

Kempen~Broek is, as far as I understand based on the information I have, home to a number of Tauros herds. Visit Theo van der Heijden's youtube channel for some high-quality videos from Kempen~Broek. The photos below show a herd of Maremmana cows covered by a young Maronesa bull and a herd of Limia cows (at least) covered by a Maremmana bull.  
I don't know the identity of the young bull at the left of the uppermost photo, but it is surely not the son of the young Maronesa bull. To be honest, the bulls actually look disappointing to me. The Maronesa's horns probably will continue to grow and the hump might develop a little more, but he will still be rather stubby - additionally to the undesired Maronesa features that were to be expected, the short face and small size. I am looking forward to see the crossbreeds with Maremmana. Some individuals might be slenderer and have better proportions, and a horn orientation intermediate between Maremmana and Maronesa would be the right angle, but I don't expect large animals to arise from that combination.
The Maremmana bull is really longish and the legs are short, he has the proportions and body shape of a Heck bull. I would be surprised if this bull reaches 150 cm at the withers because of the Limia cow next to him. The horn size is ok, but considering that he will produce offspring with Limia and Pajuna cows and subsequently with those crossbreeds, it will probably take its time until the horn size of the whole herd has reached the desired level. The skull is definitely to short, but at least not as compressed as in Maronesa. I used to think that large size, good body proportions and shape, large horns and a long snout are precious Maremmana characteristics, but after all the photos and videos I recently saw I start to doubt that. 
All in all I think that it would be too optimistic to expect TaurOs cattle that surpass current Taurus cattle within the next ten or more years, because both breeds/projects have their pro's and con's and, in sum, many of the founding individuals of the Tauros Project look as good as many current Taurus cattle (watch this promotion video, you see a lot of very nice animals there). But I fear it won't be easy for TaurOs to achieve traits like really large size and sufficiently large horns without having breeds that have these traits in a very prominent way (like Chianina for size, or Watussi or large-horned Heck cattle for the horns). 

The fact that a number of the founding individuals in TaurOs disappointed me is not meant as a critique, that would be unfair. I know it is very difficult to track down the best individuals and if you find them you still have to hope they are for sale and then try to export them. It's not easy, so it is not surprising that some individuals used in an aurochs projects do not have all the desirable features present in their breed.