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Breeds of Livestock

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Also Known As: Magyar szürkemarha or Magyar alföldi (Hungarian), Grey Hungarian, Hungarian Steppe, White Hungarian


Until the beginning of the 20th century, longhorned Gray Steppe cattle were the foremost breed in Hungary. Used both for draft purposes and for beef, they were yoked in teams of four or more to pull merchant wagons across the steppes, sometimes in long caravans. However beginning about 1850, they began to decrease in numbers due to crossbreeding and the increasing use of Simmental.


In 1861 a superior herd of a Hungarian nobleman was moved to a state farm. Here the breed was selected for early maturity and heavy muscling. In addition, some lines were selected for increased milk production. But the breed continued to lose popularity.  By 1975, only two herds remained with a total of 300 cows. By 1982 stock had increased to 850 cows in 6 herds. One of these herds is in the open-air museum at Hortobagy.


The Hungarian Steppe cow weighs an average of 535 kg, with a height at the withers of 135 cm. The average bull weighs 700 kg and stands 150 cm at the withers.




Genus Bos: Cattle Breeds of the World, 1985, MSO-AGVET (Merck & Co., Inc.), Rahway, N.J.


Mason, I.L. 1996. A World Dictionary of Livestock Breeds, Types and Varieties. Fourth Edition. C.A.B International. 273 pp.


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