About Salers Cattle
Salers, pronounced 'Sa-Lair', Cattle originated in the
mountainous Auvergne region of France. The area does not have much cereal grain
production and the Salers cattle were forced to become foragers of the native
grasses in summer and hay in winter.
Salers Cattle is one of the oldest breeds of cattle in the
world, with prehistoric cave paintings suggesting that a similar type of animal
had been bred in the area for 7-10,000 years. The drawings were found near Salers,
a small medieval town in the France.
Historically Salers cattle were respected not only as beef
animals, but as milk producers for cheese products and were also used as strong
sources of animal power.
Traditionally the cows were introduced to the bulls for 45
days in the spring and then herds were walked into the surrounding mountains. The
cow herds grazed on communal pastures for the summer without any bulls, while
the calves were kept shut in a pen. Twice daily each calf was brought from the
pen and tied to the front leg of its mother while the cow stood un-tethered to
be milked by hand. Some milk was left for the calf to suckle before the calf
was re-penned. Today in France, only about 10% of the Salers herds are still
milked, the rest are used for beef production.
Salers milk is traditionally used to produce Appellation
d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) cheese. Salers cattle are also used to produce veal
calves by cross breeding them with Charolais cattle.