Buša Cattle

Breeds and animal husbandry - Serbia

Buša cattle are a primitive breed indigenous to the Balkans area. Animals may be gray, yellow, red, brown, striped, white or black in color. Almost all colors, except white, are present in the Dimitrovgrad area of southeastern Serbia. It is an extremely small, late maturing cattle. Adult males weigh is in average 250 - 300 kg and females 150 - 200 kg, with an average wither height of 115 cm and 105 cm respectively. This cattle has fine, upward and forward curving horns and a doe snout. In relation to its body mass, buša cows give a good amount of high-fat milk, averaging 1000 liters per year. It is a fertile breed, calving every year in the winter or spring for 10 - 12, but even up to 24 years. Meat from this breed is lean, with a gamey flavor thanks to the diet provided by the many plant species found in the Stara Planina region. Buša cattle are a hearty breed and modest regarding feeding, care and housing. It is resistant to tuberculosis as well as foot and mouth disease. Until the end of the 19th century, buša cattle were the most numerous breed in Serbia. The importation of other breeds for milk and meat production intensified after World War II, with crossbreeding preformed with Simmental or Alpine cattle. Purebred buša were near the brink of extinction, but recovery in Serbia began in the year 2000 with the introduction of state subsidies for the preservation of traditional livestock breeds. When these subsidies ended in 2013, the breed faced uncertainty again. However, its increased numbers have created a niche market for its meat in the area, particularly purchased by hotels and restaurants, and milk sold by some farms. Unfortunately, economic conditions in the area make it difficult for farmers to be paid a fair price for their products.