The Neusiedlersee-Seewinkel National Park is very beautiful. It is also the only steppe park in Austria, and is the only place where Hungarian Steppe Cattle can be seen grazing. Due to the natural, high quality nutrition that the national park provides, the beef has an incomparably good flavor.
The Hungarian Steppe Cattle that graze in the Neusiedlersee-Seewinkel National Park are very important for the landscape of the national park. The path to this realization was long and took its toll on the park.
The Changing Landscape
For centuries, livestock herds dominated the landscape of the Seewinkel area. The animals ate enough to allow only a few trees and bushes to reach their full height. This helped create one of the most species-rich habitats in Europe, the Puszta. In addition, the herds of cattle, sheep, horses and pigs were the economic basis for the people living there.
In the 20th century, the changes to modern technology greatly impacted the national park. On higher, drier pastures, fields or vineyards were created to bring in more profit. The deeper, more humid areas were no longer used because they were not as productive.
The consequences were fatal. First, the diversity of plants was greatly reduced. Endangered species of birds suddenly had no living space and disappeared from the Seewinkel. On top of that, a species of reed no longer allowed the animals to graze. This allowed the total area of the lakes to expand.
Since the establishment of the cross-border national park in Austria and Hungary 1993, the situation has improved. In 1995, grazing was introduced as a tool for land management. Since then, a herd of Grey Hungarian Steppe Cattle (about 500 head) has grazed in the area. So the overgrown Silverberry shrubs that have taken over the area will slowly be beaten back, allowing for more biodiversity again.
The tradition of grazing Hungarian Steppe Cattle has a long tradition in Burgenland. The animals have long, pointed horns and were formerly used mainly as work animals. They are perfectly adapted to the heat of the Pannonian summer, the terrain and the soil and crop conditions. Other breeds have problems with the not very lush pastures, but not the frugal and resistant steppe cattle.
Although the animals are a pet breed, they are still semi-wild animals that have a strong maternal instinct.
The animals are fed according to organic farming standards and only receive hay and organically grown grain.
The cattle's meat is a real specialty. It can be distinguished from ordinary beef because of its dark red color. The much darker tint is caused by the higher content in muscle pigment.
The characteristic taste is distinctive, because it differs from the classic beef flavor and is more reminiscent of wild game. This is due to the special diet of the cattle.
The range of beef dishes from the "National Park Neusiedlersee-Seewinkel Steppe Cattle" ranges from fresh meat, smoked or dried meat, and sausages. The latter are also available in our shop.