Swedish Original Mountain Cattle

Ark of taste
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Svensk Fjällnära Ko

The Swedish Original Mountain cow breed is relatively small in stature – 250-300 kg for a cow and up to 500 kg for a bull, and 115-120 cm tall. Coat color ranges from pure white to pure black with shades of browns, reds and grays in between, also in spotted or pied patterns. This breed is generally hornless. Their light skeleton and large hooves make them ideally suited to the Swedish forests and mountains where larger breeds cannot roam, and they are skilled at finding their own feed among birch branches and bog lands and defending themselves as a herd from wolves and bears.

This breed is an all-purpose cow, with high quality meat and milk, although lower in quantity than other breeds. The milk is used to make fine cheese, messmör, butter and cream. The meat is sold in butchery cuts or used to make cured or smoked products or sausages. Evidence of this breed has been found in Sweden dating back over 3000 years, and archaeologists have found traces of casein (a milk protein) in bowls found in the area.

A gene bank has been created by a volunteer group of farmers of this breed to preserve purebred animals, however they are still facing a risk of extinction. Some government agencies wish to turn areas where they graze into natural reserves, not understanding the relationship between the grazing cattle and the environment. Furthermore, there is competition from industrial breeds that produce a higher quantity, but lower quality, of meat and milk. It is estimated that there are just a few hundred purebred Svensk Fjällnära cattle left.

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