Breed of the Month Archive

Pajuna


Herd-Book creation :2005
Nb. Breeding females (2007) :1125
Trend :Decreasing
Local name :Pajuna, Serrana
English name :Pajuna

History

The breed is a composite of the African Atlas branch with possible influence of Retinta; other authors believe that Pajuna cattle descend directly from the Bos taurus primigenius. Since 1950 has been continuously crossed with Murciana and other more profitable breeds.

In the scarce bibliography that exists on the Pajuna breed, it is seen that the census has diminished drastically in recent years, falling from a couple thousand pure females in the 80s to 310 females with just 11 males in the 90s. This last report pointed out that only 31 females coupled with males of the same breed; that is to say, they bred purely. By the year 1992, this breed could have been considered in a situation near to extinction. Presently, this situation has got worse. On 29 farms visited, it was determined that only 8 of them had animals that could be considered pure, with a total of less than 100 breeders. In the official catalogue of Spanish cattle breeds is considered as a specially protected breed.

Breed Description

Animals have a black or red coat (chestnut varying in intensity, being the bulls darker). They present centrifuge pigmentation that affects the edges of the ears, borders of eyelids and distal parts of the extremities. Other characteristics comprise black mucous membranes with a silver halo around muzzle, big head in proportion to the body and long legs. Both sexes exhibit white open hooked horns with black points. Adult males mean weight is 600 kg and females reach the 375 kg. Mean height is 165 cm and 160 cm respectively.

The animals are well adapted to the local marginal conditions, especially to cold mountain habitats. They are only provided with fodder under extreme weather conditions when grazing is not possible.
Although appreciated for the quality of the meat, the main use of the breed was traditionally as draft power.

Present distrbution:
South of Spain (Andalucía)



Different figures correspond to differen studies ( Luque et al. AGRI 2006, 39: 1-14)
Males Females
Area/Degree of ‘pureness’ A B Total A B C Total Farmers
Jaén 3 1 4 71 54 37 162 17
Ronda 5 0 5 50 43 28 121 24
Granada 6 3 9 105 272 365 742 38
Others 2 0 2 41 16 3 60 14
Axarquía 6 8 14 20 17 11 48 13
Total 22 12 34 287 402 444 1133 106


At the present moment there are 82 farmers who have 1125 animals who show influence of the Pajuna breed (13 animals/farmer), although 46% of the farms had fewer than 5 reproducers; 38% had between 3 and 2 and only 16% had more than 25. Traditional Pajuna habitat has been very extensive (practically all Andalusian high lands and mountain ranges) spending from autumn to the end of spring in the ranges of Sierra Morena, Cazorla, Segura and the Villas and Serrania of Ronda, even though its habitat spread to Grazalema and Valley of Alcudía and the breed migrated in summer toward Sierra Nevada and Almerian Alpujarras. At the present time, this habitat is restricted to very reduced centers in the Sierra Norte in Seville, to the Granadan Alpujarras (all cross-bred animals) and to the ranges of Cazorla, Segura and Villas where the conditions are so harsh that it is not possible to introduce animals from other more demanding breeds. We have also found animals in mixed cow herds in the Serrania de Ronda and the range of Grazalema and reducts of yokes in work fields on the coasts of Granada and Almería.

Previous/Future conservation action(s)

Present economic subvention for endangered species (120 €/cow) in no way makes up for the greater profit obtained from industrial cross breeding. An in situ conservation program has been set up since the Breed Association was founded. Other initiatives include the creation of a germplasm bank (which has recently initiated), along with marketing strategies that promote ecological tourism (e.g. creating a farm park on protected land in the mountains of Ronda).

Contact

Antonio Luque
Asociación de Criadores de Ganado Vacuno de Raza Pajuna (GRAPA), Partido Rural de Sigüela s/n, Apto. Correos 159, 29400 Ronda, Málaga, Spain