About Parthenais…

Parthenais cattle originate from the Deux Sevres region in central France, they are named after the town of Parthenay.  The Herdbook was established in 1893, making them one of the oldest breeds in France.

Historically, Parthenais cows were renowned for producing high fat milk, ideal for butter production. The breed was also used for draught work (hence their heavy, lean muscle.) This changed around 50 years ago, when the breed society established a program of improvements and placed an emphasis on the breed to produce high quality beef.

The breed was introduced into the UK and Ireland some 30 years ago and numbers are continually increasing. Parthenais cattle can also be found in America and Canada.

The Parthenais breed is now recognised as a “market topper” with crossbreds frequently leading the trade when presented in both store and fat markets.

The demand for both pedigree and crossbred cattle outweighs supply, and pedigree herds are steadily increasing throughout the country, due to private and market sales, embryos and importations.

FARMING SYSTEMS – Because of their area of origin in France they are very well adapted to cope with all extremes of climate. The breed is double muscled, although not excessively so, and always weighs particularly well, being deceptively heavy. They perform well off grass, and stand varying conditions, suiting most systems.

BULLS – Bulls are vigorous workers, being extremely fertile, and are at their best when confronted with plenty of females.

CALVING EASE- Despite being a heavier muscled breed they are easy calving due to the light bone structure. Average birth weights for bulls are around 44 kg. The mature bulls weigh up to 1000-1300kg and cows from 750-1000 kg.

CROSS BREEDING – Cross breeding trials on Friesians in the UK have produced easy calving black calves with good conformation. Feeding trials on these crossbreds on an intensive rearing system to finish around 450kg at 10-11 months show live weight gain as high as 1.75kg/day.

QUALITY HEALTHY MEAT – Statistics show the Parthenais to be a highly productive, fertile producer of high quality lean meat, having incomparable unique flavour and tenderness thanks to the fine muscle fibres, together with the juiciness and flavour from its marbling. Parthenais have a high killing out percentage of over 67%, being one of the highest of all continental breeds. This, combined with excellent muscular conformation and a healthy low cholesterol lean meat, explains why Parthenais meat in its homeland of France fetches a premium of over 25% in the markets compared with other breeds.  There is only 8.8% fat in the carcass and a net meat content of 77%, with 41.25% of this being high quality cuts.  An exceptional 95% of carcasses grade E and U.

In the Parthenais’ homeland of France the French beef farmers generally produce their beef from purebred animals, but some beef finishers are now breaking with tradition and turning to the Parthenais for increased returns and crossing it on their different purebred herds.