Salers are considered to be one of the oldest European breeds, whose roots can be traced to 16,500-year-old cave drawings found near the town of Salers in the South Central region of France, the Auvergne, in the heart of the volcanic area of the Massif Central. The rough terrain, poor soil and harsh climate combined with the area’s isolation has contributed to a genetically pure breed of cattle with bred-in range ability to thrive almost entirely on native grasses in the summer and roughage diet in winter.
The Salers breed in North America has evolved into an outstanding maternal beef breed with no lack of performance and carcass traits. The cattle are usually solid red or black and are naturally horned but polled bloodlines have been developed by selection and are now predominant in the national herd. Salers females possess a larger than average pelvic area, the largest in the industry, and calve easily to the service of larger terminal cross sires. They are excellent mothers with good milk production, are very fertile and re-breed quickly.
Salers bulls are efficient breeders and sire calves of moderate birth weight, with a strong will to live and good growth. USMARC studies have confirmed that Salers is the highest marbeling Continental breed, have a large ribeye area and a leaner carcass (less fat thickness) than British breeds. Salers cross steers perform well in feedlots and have exceptional carcass yield and quality.
The Salers breed is one of only three breeds evaluating data on docility and through the efforts of its breeders has improved this trait dramatically in recent years. The genetic trend for Salers has been very positive from a breed average of near zero in 1992 to the current breed average EPD of over +8.0.
Excellent feet and legs contribute to admirable longevity. All of these traits combined, have made Salers the choice of many commercial cattlemen striving to maximize production without increasing management or labour costs. Salers are a balanced breed, which is key to optimizing all aspects of beef production.
Salers were first imported into Canada in 1972 with the Salers Association of Canada being established in 1973. Canada continues to be an excellent source for Salers genetics worldwide.