The Andalusian pasturelands, mountains and countryside are a sign of the region’s natural wealth. They form an ecosystem in which goats and sheep enjoy living in their own slice of heaven on extensive livestock farms. The location, climate and mountains of Andalusia are the ideal setting for goat and sheep herding. Andalusia’s Natural Wealth is in countryside.
Andalusian breeds are in demand around the world for their high nutritional value, partly thanks to the way their animal welfare is enhanced in a unique environment. The goats and sheep are reared in harmony with a complex ecosystem of mountains, meadows and pastures. It stretches from Sierra Gorda and Sierra Morena to the Sierra de Grazalema and the Sierra de Ronda, but also extends down to the Seville marshlands lying almost at sea level.
Are you familiar with the different Andalusian breeds of goats and sheep?
Goats and sheep provide a type of red meat of special nutritional value thanks to its low fat content. It is a sought-after form of protein both in haute cuisine and street food alike. The existing sheep and goat breeds in Andalusia also have their own unique qualities. We should all be familiar with products from our local area and promote the consumption of zero-mile food. Despite this, most of the meat produced is exported from Andalusia.
Andalusian goats: a little-known natural treasure
Andalusia has natural wealth of immense value, both in its impact on the environment and in its high-quality production processes in the health foods sector. There are more than 60 breeds of goat around the world, six of which are found in Andalusia. These native breeds are of outstanding quality, helping to boost sustainable livestock farming and generating perfect cycles of resource use. Andalusia’s Natural Wealth is in countryside.
Andalusian white goat
The Andalusian white goat is one of the most prized meat breeds. It is able to withstand harsh climates and is farmed extensively. Also known as the white mountain goat, it is found in areas such as Sierra Morena, Sierra de Cazorla, Sierra de Segura y las Villas, and Sierra Norte de Sevilla.
Black mountain goat natural wealth
Also known as the Castiza goat, the black mountain goat is found in areas such as the Sierra de Alcaraz and Sierra Morena, in the province of Jaen. It is an ideal animal to help maintain the mountain environment, as it can live in harsh climates and remain outdoors all year round.
Payoya goat Andalusian heritage
A breed native to the province of Cadiz, the Payoya goat is one of the most highly prized of all breeds. Reared semi-extensively, mainly on family farms in Grazalema and the Sierra de Ronda, it is an important part of Andalusia’s natural wealth.
Malaga goat unique to Malaga
Bred for its high-quantity and high-quality milk, the Malaga goat is reared in semi-extensive farming systems. Although this breed is reared in other areas of Spain – and even in Morocco and Portugal – the Malaga goat is mainly found around Malaga.
As its name indicates, this goat originates from the provinces of Murcia and Granada. It is a dairy breed. Although it is native to Andalusia, it is found on farms all over Spain and even in other countries, due to its high milk production. It is one of the breeds most commonly used for intensive farming outside Spain.
Also prized for its milk, the Florida breed is most characteristic of the Guadalquivir Valley and the Seville countryside. It is a growing breed found in other Andalusian provinces as well as in Extremadura. It lives on semi-extensive livestock farms, although its ideal habitat is open housing, as it plays an important role in the use of agricultural by-products and waste.
Sheep: a prized asset of the Andalusian countryside
Sheep farming has been a source of natural wealth in Andalusia for centuries, used for wool, meat and milk production. Globally there are some 450 breeds of sheep, five of which are native Andalusian breeds producing high-quality milk and meat for export. They are an integral part of the Andalusian landscape and help to maintain the Andalusian rural environment. Andalusia’s Natural Wealth is in ovine.
Segureña sheep a breed of Andalusian origin
The Segureña sheep is one of the mostly highly prized breeds thanks to the quality of its meat. It is also found abundantly in the Andalusian countryside and is classified as a growing breed. Bred in extensive or semi-extensive production systems, it is found in areas such as Jaen, Granada and Almeria.
Merina sheep natural wealth
The Merina breed is one of the most widespread, found on five continents. Its high-quality wool sparked the distribution of livestock around the world with the rise of maritime trade. As well as its wool, this breed of sheep is known for the quality of its meat and milk. It can be found across all the main Andalusian pastures and is one of the most prized assets of our region.
Also known as the Ojiblanca or Sevillana breed, this sheep is prized for its meat. It is found mainly in the provinces of Granada and Jaen. It is farmed extensively in the higher areas of the mountain ranges of both provinces.
Native to the Sierra de Loja, this breed is also known as rabala or rabuda. It is mainly bred for meat and is farmed extensively in the Sierra Gorda up to an altitude of 1,669 metres. It is one of the rural animals on which the province of Granada prides itself.
Churra Lebrijana sheep a marshland treasure
Also known as Churra Marismeña, this breed of sheep is well adapted to humid and saline areas. It feeds on rice stubble, which is typical of the provinces of Huelva and Seville. Its production model is extensive and focused on meat production, because this is an endangered breed.
Merina de Grazalema sheep
Bred mainly for dairy production, the milk from these sheep is used to produce a traditional Andalusian cheese called Grazalema, which has played a key role in boosting numbers of this endangered breed. These sheep are able to withstand low temperatures and are mainly found in the Sierra de Grazalema Nature Reserve, which straddles the border between Cadiz and Malaga.
Undoubtedly, Andalusia’s natural wealth is based on the rural environment and the native breeds that inhabit its pastures and mountain ranges, sustaining part of the Andalusian economy. This ecosystem is made up of a large network of farmers, livestock breeders, cooperatives, transporters and distributors who successfully bring high-quality products to consumers.