The Piedmontese breed has an articulated and innovative selective program aimed at improving both meat production traits and those related to the functionality and health of the animals.

The program involves extensive use of Artificial Insemination and the adoption of the most sophisticated methodologies for the genetic evaluation of breeders.


For a beef breed, producing animals capable of rapid growth, high slaughter yields, well-conformed carcasses, and a high proportion of quality cuts is of primary importance.

For this reason, among the selection objectives for the Piedmontese breed, growth and musculature are particularly relevant, without neglecting the feed conversion efficiency, which allows for the optimization of feed resources at the farm level.

Alongside these aspects, the selection program aims to produce breeding females capable of easily delivering healthy calves free from birth anomalies, equipped with an efficient locomotor system, and generally providing breeders with docile and easy-to-manage animals.


Growth, musculature, docility, and locomotion traits are recorded within the Genetic Center through performance testing of bull calves candidates for Artificial Insemination. The same traits are also recorded through the morphological evaluation of cows present on farms.

Calving outcomes in terms of ease (spontaneous, assisted, difficult, cesarean section) are recorded by the livestock inspectors of the Regional Breeders’ Associations, who visit all farms registered in the Herd Book monthly, along with the characteristics (weight, conformation, vitality, presence of anomalies) of newborn calves.

The ease of calving depends on the combination of two different genetic factors: the first, related to calf size, constitutes the trait of Calving Ease; the second, related to the cow’s ability to give birth, depends on the pelvic area size and dilation, constituting the trait of Calving Ability. Given the negative correlation between the two factors, both are considered to achieve overall improvement in calving outcomes.


The optimization of the selective program has led to the definition of two different selective indices: the Meat Index, oriented towards selecting breeders for producing slaughter animals, and the Breeding Index, aimed more at selecting breeders for female replacement.

The purpose of genetic evaluations is to produce genetic indices. These express the genetic value of breeders and are used for selecting the best subjects (bulls for Artificial Insemination, cows on farms, bulls for natural mating). All genetic indices are calculated using the BLUP Animal Model, which ensures the highest precision in genetic evaluation. For traits related to calving (Calving Ease and Calving Ability), the evaluation incorporates genomic information obtained from a panel of about 35,000 SNP genetic markers.

The indices of individual traits are aggregated to form selection indices, which are the tool through which bulls for Artificial Insemination are chosen.


  1. Planned matings between Artificial Insemination bulls and Bull Dams. These are cows in the top 5% of the breed for Meat or Breeding Index. From these matings, 220 calves are introduced annually into the Genetic Center for performance testing.
  2. Performance testing of 220 subjects up to 12 months of age (evaluation of growth, musculature, docility, locomotion).
  3. Selection of the best 40 subjects based on the Meat and Breeding Indices.
  4. Transfer of the 40 bulls to the Bull Center facilities and production of semen material.
  5. Progeny testing of the 40 bulls to measure calving ease and ability, and the characteristics of their offspring at birth. Progeny testing involves the random distribution of about 400 doses of semen per bull among farms, ensuring their use under different environmental conditions and on cows from different genetic lines.
  6. Selection of the best 25 bulls based on the Meat and Breeding Indices at the end of progeny testing.
  7. Market distribution of semen from the 25 selected bulls, execution of planned matings, and restarting the selection cycle.


In 20 years of selection, the growth of animals has improved by over 100 grams per day, and musculature has improved by 1 point on the 1 to 9 scale used to measure it.


In the last 15 years, both genetic components determining calving outcomes have been improved despite their unfavorable correlation.