Aubrac Cattle: Dairy farmers urged to consider the breed
The Irish Aubrac Cattle Society is mounting a campaign to “widen” the breed’s appeal amongst dairy farmers.
It aims to increase the numbers of Aubrac-cross cattle from the dairy herd that are available to processors and ultimately to consumers.
The society believes that the “high performing, easy calving breed” should be in every dairy farmer’s beef selection this breeding season.
Three of the top six active AI bulls in the ICBF Dairy Beef Cross Index are Dauphin, Despagnou and Madison.
Aubrac cattle have been around for a couple of hundred years. They originated in the mountainous regions of the Auvergne and France’s Massif Central.
This area bred hardy cattle that could survive harsh terrain and thrive on a meagre diet.
They also had to be easy calving as the chances of assistance at calving were non-existent.
It is from these strong genetic fundamentals that the modern Aubrac breed has been developed.
Chairman of the society, James Donnellan, who farms Aubrac cattle organically in Co. Galway, says:
“The choices that dairy farmers have to produce beef-cross cattle are limited, particularly from their heifers.”
“Aubrac bulls are, for the most part, very easy calving. They have the ability to put condition on dairy-cross cattle more effectively than the traditional beef choices.”
“They can also do this on lower quality feed, and produce finished cattle quicker that grade very strongly and with a high kill-out percentages.”
“These traits are demonstrated in the high genetic scores and rankings that Aubrac bulls consistently achieve in ICBF and Eurostar ratings.”
Furthermore, the meat produced from Aubrac cattle is also gaining a solid following, particularly among craft butchers.
Donnellan said: “Aubrac meat has an excellent flavour and texture. Our breeders want to spread the word with consumers.”
“The best way we can do this is to increase the numbers of Aubrac-cross cattle that are available by encouraging more dairy farmers to use Aubrac for their beef-cross,” he concluded.