Green alpine pastures - living an idyll
Austria can boast a vast stock of grassland totalling around 1.8 million hectares. Approximately a quarter of the land consists of meadows, grazing land and alpine pastures. Low herd density, a variety of natural basic feed, responsible animal breeding and our farmers' expertise offer superb conditions for excellent beef quality.
An important economic factor
In total, about 82,000 cattle farmers keep 2 million head of cattle, of which approximately 1/2 million are dairy cows and 270,000 mother cows. The annual gross domestic production of beef and veal in Austria is approximately 207,000 tons. This makes cattle breeding an important economic sector in Austria. Cattle breeding makes up 14%, or 545 million euros, of the overall total revenue of agricultural produce of 5.4 billion euros.
Important breeds in Austria
Cattle is mainly bred in Austria for two purposes - milk and beef. The most important breed by far is flecked cattle, which makes up 81.3% of the stock. The second most common breed is brown mountain cattle with 10%, followed by the Holstein-Frisian (2.6%), the traditional local Pinzgauer breed (2.3%) as well as grey mountain cattle (0.7%). Special beef breeds such as Angus, Limousin, Charolais and Blonde d'Aquitaine (1.1%) have been noticeably gaining in importance in recent years. Other breeds: 2%.
Austria - a country with a tradition of beef exports
Austria's production of approximately 566,000 beef cattle per year has earned it a reputation extending far across its borders as an important cattle breeding country in the heart of Europe. Although just under 3% of the European gross domestic production of beef originate from Austria, we are internationally recognised as an exporting country.
Certified meat from healthy cattle
One reason for this is the excellent health of our animals. Thus, foot and mouth disease has not occurred in Austria since 1981, and not a single case of BSE has been reported. Severe import restrictions and a ban on the use of animal meal to feed ruminants contribute to the safety of the meat that people buy.
Quality not quantity
Farming structures in the cattle breeding sector are especially valuable because they ensure the breeder's personal relationship to his animals. Whereas on average in Europe about every second cow is kept in herds of more than 100 animals, this figure is only 5.5% in Austria. The average size of herds on Austrian farms is about 23 head of cattle, of which 9 are dairy cows.