Beef breeds

Troupeau de Salers - Crédit : Groupe Salers Evolution
Troupeau de Salers - Crédit : Groupe Salers Evolution
Summary of the article

 Traits and performances

The Salers is native from the Auvergne region deep in the heart of the Massif Central – a tough, rough mountainous area that has forged bred-in hardiness.

The quality of its hooves and the solidity of its legs enable the Salers to graze all types of rangeland, and its mahogany-red coat color copes with the effects of heat while its long curly winter coat offers effective protection against the cold.

The Salers also boasts a larger pelvic area than any other breed, which enables to dams to calve easily and successfully with zero assistance. This outstanding characteristic also means that Salers can easily be crossbreed with other well-muscled breeds such as Charolais without compromising this unparalleled calving ease.

Salers makes the ideal suckling dam – a quality that stems from its dairy origins: initially farmed as a dual-purpose breed, the quality of its milk built up a reputation through the local cheese industry, carried by big-names cheeses such as Cantal.

Today, the Salers is the only breed to boast two distinct genetic branches: the beef branch (95% of the national cowherd), and a dairy branch used to produce "Tradition Salers" cheese, with Protected Designation of Origin (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée – AOC), which is made exclusively from Salers milk.

Farmers in the Salers home region tend to produce heavyweight purebred or crossbred weaned calves sold in autumn after summering on the high-altitude pastures. Note that Salers spends over 7 months at pasture and is then left to range freely, where it helps maintain the high-altitude prairieland.

Its ability to handle extreme temperature ranges combined with exceptional calving ease go far towards explaining its popularity, not just across the whole of France but also in other major extensive farming regions of the world, from the USA and Canada to Australia and Eastern Europe.


The Salers breeding objectives are to maintain its hardiness and its maternal qualities, such as astonishing reproductive efficiency (the aim being to produce 6 or 7 calves per cow at a regular one-calf-a-year interval) while further improving growth rate and muscular potential.

In order to achieve these targets, the breeding program combines a functional pedigree Herdbook, on-farm performance recording enabling IBOVAL genetic assessments of sire bulls and dams.

Every year, the national assessment station genetic allows to selects the very best bulls to be propagated by AI and natural mating.


Key figures

  • 209,939 cows
  • 6,028 farms
  • 51,940 cows under on-farm official performance recording system
  • 25,450 cows recorded in the Herd Book
  • 19,163 artificial inseminations
  • Height at withers (adult cow): 140 cm
  • Adult cow weight:
    700 to 900 kg
  • Adult bull weight:
    1,000 to 1,400 kg
  • Easy calving: 99 %
  • Birth weight of male calves: 38.9 kg
  • 120-day weight of male calves: 169 kg
  • 210-day weight of male calves: 274 kg
  • Weight of young-bull carcass:
    370 to 400 kg
  • Carcass yield: 56 to 58 %

Results of on-farm performance recording system 2014 -Institut de l’Elevage & France Bovins Croissance