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  • Verin Cooperative Biocoop

    Posted on April 29, 2016

    TdG_LogoTesouros

    Tesouros de Galicia


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    The Cooperative ‘Biocoop’ located in Verin, Galicia, is noted for its comprehensive and ecological recovery of indigenous breeds.

    Two categories are prominent in the ooperative: (1) traditional farms with organic production (meat) and (2) Farms that are committed to indigenous breeds and typical certified product (Ternera Gallega).

    Biocoop is the most representative union in Galicia for the recovery of native cattle breeds. It promotes sustainable farming by indigenous and ecological certificate systems.
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    In 1998, eleven beef farmers decided to group together to form the partnership that is Biocoop. Their intention was to reconvert their farms into productive units that respect the environment and the health of the consumers. To achieve these aims they decided to link two key factors: organic production methods and local breeds of cattle that are in danger of extinction (Vianesa, Frieiresa, Cachena, Caldelá and Limiá) as well as “Rubia Gallega.”

     

    Biocoop has 23 herds of native breeds, making up 2,000 cattle over an area of 4,500 hectares. The Morenas del Noroeste (Vianesa, Frieiresa, Cachena, Caldelá and limia) are, together with the Galician Rubia breed, the unique cattle breeds of Galicia, and are well adapted to the local terrain and climate, as well as its innate qualities: hardiness, resistance, fertility and high immunity, which favored by ecological care (absence of stress, access to wild flora of therapeutic properties) can reduce drug use. They have great organoleptic qualities in their flesh.

    Biocoop advocates food sovereignty of the territories and a balance of fair price for the producer and the consumer. It takes into account the social value of organic producers: health, environment and climate change.

     

    In respect to commercialization, farmers are responsible for packaging and selling the beef that is produced on their free-range organic farms. They aim to increase the market presence of their organic beef (currently 500 bullocks a year) to enable them to create more organic farms that raise herds of endemic Galician breeds, in order to safeguard the rural world and people that live in it.

     

    Cattle breeds

    Cachena
    cachena

    The smallest of the Galician breeds (and the smallest in the world) with extraordinarily strong jaws that enable them to make use of the poor pasture that grows on steep terrain. Their enormous horns give them the nickname of sacred cows.

    Characteristics
    Easy births.
    Census in the Cooperative:
    208 head of cattle of the 1808 registered in the whole of Galicia.
    Adult Weight:
    350 Kg. Females, 550 Kg. Males
    Calf weight at slaughter:
    130 Kg. Carcass weight
    Morphologic class:
    O
    Farms where present:
    MONCHO (Quintela de Leirado)
    BOUZADRAGO (Entrimo)
    CURVACEIRA (Calvos de Randin)
    AS CHEDAS (Entrimo)

     

    Vianesa
    vianesa

    A medium sized breed from the County of Viana de Bolo. This brown haired breed is very hardy, living in the most difficult of terrains. Can be found outside its area of origin.

    Characteristics:
    Good mothers with easy births.
    Census in the Cooperative:
    210 head of the 660 registered in the whole of Galicia.
    Adult Weight:
    550 Kg. Females, 750 Kg. Males
    Calf weight at slaughter:
    170 Kg. Carcass weight
    Morphologic class:
    R-O
    Farms where present:
    AS VINCELAS (A Viega)
    OUTEIRO (Riós)
    CIMADEVILA (Montederramo)
    SAN XULIAN (San Xuan de Rio)

     

    Frieiresa
    frieiresa

    Originally from the County of Conso-Frieiras, bordering on Castilla. This location led to it being the first breed that was pushed to the edge of extinction by the introduction of foreign breeds. It is larger than the Vianesa although it has similar characteristics.

    Characteristics:
    Good mothers with easy births.
    Census in the Cooperative:
    75 head of the 284 registered in the whole of Galicia.
    Adult Weight:
    600 Kg. Females, 800 Kg. Males
    Calf weight at slaughter:
    180 Kg. Carcass weight
    Morphologic class:
    R-O
    Farms where present:
    CABANAS (San Cristobo de Cea)

     

    Caldela
    caldela

    Originally from the County of Caldelas this breed is the only one with black skin although the calves are born brown. They have very strong temperament that makes them nervous of people they don’t know. They are very hardy and good at breeding in the wild.

    Characteristics:
    Strong and Hardy. Good mothers.
    Census in the Cooperative:
    44 head of the 648 registered in the whole of Galicia.
    Adult Weight:
    550 Kg. Females, 700 Kg. Males
    Calf weight at slaughter:
    165 Kg. Carcass weight
    Morphologic class:
    R-O
    Farms where present:
    LAMA (Montederramo)

     

    Limia
    limia

    Originally from the County of Limia this breed started to go into decline when the Lake of Antela dried and agriculture became more mechanized in this area. It has brown skin, is very strong and has an easygoing, calm temperament.

    Characteristics:
    Large size, docility. Good mothers.
    Census in the Cooperative:
    80 head of the 215 registered in the whole of Galicia.
    Adult Weight:
    650 Kg. Females, 900 Kg. Males
    Calf weight at slaughter:
    210 Kg. Carcass weight
    Morphologic class:
    R-O
    Farms where present:
    PAMAMÁ (Allariz)
    BOUZADRAGO (Entrimo)

     

    Rubia Galega Y Otras
    rubiotras

    The introduction of this breed has been widely supported throughout Galicia. The excellent muscular development of this breed gives their calves good meat production and excellent formation and class.

    Characteristics:
    Large size. Excellent formation and rosy pink meat.
    Census in the Cooperative:
    800 head
    Adult Weight:
    750 Kg. Females, 1200 Kg. Males
    Calf weight at slaughter:
    Females 190 Kg Carcasss weight. Males  250 Kg Carcass weight
    Morphologic class:
    R-U-E
    Farms where present:
    AS VINCELAS Y PRADO (A Veiga)
    LAMA (Montederramo)
    CABAÑA (San Cristobo de Cea)
    SAN XULIAN (San Xuan de Rio)
    BOUZADRAGO (Entrimo)
    CURVACEIRA (Clavos de Randin)

     

    Wanting to visit a farm?

    Farm Outeiro (Riós)
    This cattle ranch dates back to 1984 when it was used for dairy production before converting to focus of indigenous breeds and ecological management in 1998. 120 Vianesa cattle graxe the 100 hectares.

    Location and scenery
    Livestock graze in Outeiro (Riós, Ourense) surrounded by mountains (900 meters), chestnut trees, oaks, ponds, springs, pradería and wildlife. This ecosystem is the result of self-sufficient farmers who want to reproduce a scheme respecting nature and the ethology of the animal.

    Why is it sustainable?
    This farm brreds the ancestral cows of Galicia, the most adapted and evolved to the natural environment and biodiversity. It is also certified for its sustainable ecological system, which involves caring for the land and cattle naturally. The final product is not the goal but the consequence. The farmer’s philosophy considers man part of nature, sensitive and responsible. Following the Hippocratic message, if we are what we eat, livestock must be free from stress and pesticides, fed by nature itself, in harmony with the landscape.
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    The number of animals per unit area is not excessive and it is possible to produce their feed on the same farm and they allow true tractability. The farmers are genuinely proud of what they do and have the satisfaction of knowing that they are doing things the way they ought to be done.

    “When we study animal behavior we learn that each species has its own well-defined, complex social structure. If we don’t respect this structure, we will impair the harmonic growth of the individual animals. Organic animal husbandry is nothing like industrial farming because, as well as incorporating the study of science and biology, it also relies on human sensibility. We can categorically state that we are nature’s genuine gardeners.”

    Sustainability actions: Biodiversity conservation; Heritage and heirloom species; Traditional knowledge.

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