Salers cattle offer:
- Easy calving with quick to suckle calves
- Very fertile males and females
- Long living hardy animals
- Low vet bills
- Excellent foragers
- Milky females producing fast growing calves
- Readily crossed to a ‘terminal sire’ breed
The difficult environmental conditions where the Salers breed originated and developed in France makes it ideal for the poorer areas of the British Isles and today’s beef industry. Salers are generally horned and dark red, though there are a growing number of polled and black Salers becoming available in the pure bred herd.
The breed rarely experiences eye or udder problems due to their brown pigmented skin and pigmented membranes. A good hair coat which becomes thick and curly in winter gives hardiness and adaptability to cold and heat. Having roamed the mountains for centuries, and been draught animals they have developed strong legs and good feet with black hooves. Consequently the cattle can travel long distance over rough ground without developing foot problems and are equally able to tolerate long periods inside on slats.
Salers are ideally suited for crossbreeding programmes, being one of the oldest and genetically most pure of the European breeds, they produce a positive effect on the predictability and consistently increase hybrid vigour.
The French National Institute of Agricultural Research ran trials that show that Salers cows and heifers are able to draw on their body reserves when food is scarce to produce sufficient milk for their calf, building them up again quickly when grazing is plentiful. Suckler cow costs are minimised though the breeds stress free calving, longevity, foraging ability, winter hardiness and minimal feet, eye and udder problems.