Salers in New Zealand
Introduced in New Zealand in 1987, Salers are taking their place as a unique European breed with a balance of traits ideal for cross breeding. The New Zealand farmer needs an animal that is hardy and tolerant of widely varying conditions while still achieving maximum weight gains. The genetic purity of the Salers breed creates a remarkable degree of hybrid vigour in cross breeding programmes that correlates to strong increases in weaning and yearling weights. Salers have proved adaptable to New Zealand conditions from Northland to Invercargill. These are just a few of the things about us that make a difference.
Salers are a breed bred for success in today’s economic climate.
History of Salers
Salers have been bred for centuries in the Cantel region of South Central France. Salers cattle (pronounced Sa-Lair) are believed to be direct descendants of ancient Egyptian cattle and were first recorded by archaeologists as depicted from ancient drawings in cave dwellings dated some 7,000 years ago. The drawings were found near Salers, a small medieval town in the centre of France.
With such a unique background, the breed is considered to be one of the oldest and most genetically pure of all European breeds.
Salers cattle are now known to be native to the Aubergine region of South Central France, which is an isolated, mountainous area noted for it’s rough rocky terrain, poor soil and a harsh climate. As topography allowed for little cereal grain production the Salers cattle were forced to become foragers.
Until modern times Salers cattle were respected not only as beef animals, but as milk producers for cheese products. In France today, only about 10% of the Salers herds are still milked, the remainder being used for beef production. The breed is numerically France’s largest “hardy breed” with 190,000 cows of which 30,000 are registered and performance recorded. In New Zealand Salers Breedplan is used for performance recording.
Salers females are extremely fertile. They reach puberty at an early age, conceive quickly, calve easily and breed back readily. Bred for their rich milk, the Salers female has a tight, well placed udder that gives an abundance of high quality, rich milk. Salers calves are typically longer and narrow with small heads at birth. They are vigorous calves with moderate birth weights (30-40kg normal range).
The Salers females are known for their large well shaped pelvic area, which accounts for their exceptional calving ease. Research of 59,000 cows of 28 breeds show Salers dams weaned the heaviest (200 day) calves of any breed.