The Maine-Anjou breed originated in France in the 19th century, taking their name from the Mayenne and Anjou river valleys in which they were developed. In France the breed has evolved as a dual-purpose breed, where the cows are selected for their milk production, and bull calves are fed for market. The traditional colouring is very dark red with white markings on the head, belly, rear legs and tail. White on other parts of the body is also common.
The first Maine-Anjou arrived in Canada in 1969 and later through artificial insemination the breed entered the United States. In 1970, the Canadian Maine-Anjou Association was formed. Over the past 35 years in Canada, selective breeding has: reduced the frame size of both fullbloods & purebreds, drastically reduced birthweights, tightened up the front end, thickened up the back end, developed a polled feature in both fullbloods & purebreds and developed multiple colours due to the recessive fullblood colour gene, resulting in the traditional red & white (fullblood) colouring, solid black, solid red and other colour patterns.
Advantages to breeding Maine-Anjou are high rates of gain, feed efficiency, adaptability to climatic extremes, superior carcass quality, docility, and smooth muscling. Bulls are known for being: high gainers, with a quiet disposition, sound conformation and the ability to be horned, polled or scurred. Females are recognized for their: quiet disposition, strong milking ability, maternal instincts, extreme longevity (10 years or more), easy calving ability and high fertility.
Crossbreeding with Maines adds: stretch, growth rate, quiet disposition and more pounds at weaning to a herd. Maines can also be utilized to breed for or select against other specific traits. Crossed with white-faced cattle, the Maine influence produces dark pigmentation around the eyes. This reduces the occurrence of cancer eye and pink eye. The recessive red gene can be utilized to maintain your preferred colour pattern. Maine’s’ performance at tests and in shows has repeatedly shown that Maine-Anjou genetics can be advantageous to any herd!