Introduction to Aubrac Cattle Breed:
The Aubrac is a breed of domestic beef cattle which are raised mainly for meat production. It is a very old cattle breed from France with about 150 years of breeding history. It was the golden age of the breed cattle. The Aubrac is a rustic suckler breed cattle born on the Aubrac plateau. It has managed to adapt perfectly to extreme climate situations – differences in temperature, wind, and cold. The Aubrac cattle breed is today, increasing and expanding both locally and nationally and even abroad. It is identified as being tough and resistant.
The Aubrac cattle breed is far from being the most common cattle type in Ireland, but they are on quite a few Irish farms. Aubrac cattle come from France originally, with 1st records of the breed mentioned about 150 years ago. They are mostly used in beef production but can be popular dairy choices. In history, they were milked in France to make Laguiole cheese, a product that is still well-known today.
History of Aubrac Cattle Breed
In the previous days, breeding efforts focused on dairy production and their aptitude as draught oxen. The end of animal power redirected the size and musculature towards producing beef cattle breed using a suckling system. In 1947, the bronze bull by Georges Guyot was installed on the Place du Forail in Laguiole and become the proud representative of the Aubrac breed cattle and the village.
The Aubrac cattle are found in Aveyron-Lozere, France. This breed originated from a small town called Aubrac in the Auvergne, Southern France through the late 1800s. The first recordings of the registered Aubrac cattle breed date back to 1894. A reading of these records revealed that the selection of what would become the Aubrac breed cattle began much earlier than that year. Their development started during the 1600s at the Benedictine Abbey of Aubrac cattle, where controlled breeding was practiced until the Abbey was destroyed during the French Revolution.
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Typical breed Characteristics of Aubrac Cattle:
Aubrac breed cattle are medium sized animals. They are usually tan in color, with darker on the nose and eyes and circled with white color. Their skin is normally of black color. Both Aubrac bulls and cows usually have horns. Their horns are relatively big in size and are of lyre-shaped. They have short but strong legs, and the bulls have black colored hair around the shoulder area. They are standing tall; the cows reach around 130 cm at the withers and around 140 cm for the bulls. The mature Aubrac cows on average weight about 600 kg-750 kg. And the average live body weight of the mature bulls varies from 900 kg-1,100 kg.
The Aubrac breed cows spent their winters on the farm and gave birth to calves. And they usually go to the mountains for grazing the green pastures especially at the end of spring. The young Aubrac bulls were bred and raised in at the farm to become draft oxen.
There were about 300000 Aubrac breed cattle available at the end of the 19th century. But the popularity of the cattle breed and oxen declined at the end of Second World War. Popularity of highly productive dairy cattle breeds increased after the 1950s, and milk was more cheaply produced by new breeds like Holstein cattle and Braunvieh cattle. The Aubrac breed cattle are now used mainly as a meat cattle breed, because their milk production niches are now filled by other cattle breeds. Currently, the whole population of this breed is approximately 10,000, and around 3000 heads in inscribed in the French studbook. There are about 2,500 animals existing in Germany and nearly half of them inscribed in a stud book.
Breed profile of Aubrac Cattle Breed:
|Breed Purpose||Milk and meat|
|Breed Size||Medium to large|
|Coat Color||Normally tan with darker on the nose
and eyes and circled with white
|Climate Tolerance||Native climates|
|Weight||Bulls – Around 900-1100 kg|
|Weight||Cows – Around 600-750 kg|
|Calving ease||97 %|
|Country/Place of Origin||France|
Body type and Characteristics:
The Aubrac breed is a well-muscled animal that is moderate in frame size. Their sturdy, robust build and little strong legs make them ideal for mountainous regions. Their color is fawn with varying shades, which range from white to pale gray color. The coat is very darker on the shoulders and on the croup. The switch at the end of the tail, the cleats, the nose, the tips of the horns, and the rims of the ears and eyes are black color. Their horns slightly twist backwards, although many Aubrac cattle are now polled. The weight of an average adult Aubrac bull ranges from 2000 to 2500 lbs. An average Aubrac cow weighs from 1200 to 1700 lbs. And calves at birth weigh between 80 lbs to 90 lbs. Aubrac Cows have excellent pelvic conformation with nice, tidy udders but still have a plentiful supply of milk. Very hardy breed and very easily maintained. Aubrac Bulls and steers perform well and finish at young ages with excellent grades.
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Colour: The coat is fawn with varying shades; it can vary from white color to pale gray. The coat is very darker on the shoulders and on the croup. These characteristics are mostly visible in non castrated males, where the front end is almost black.
Extremites: The mucous membranes, the rim of the anus, the lips of the vulva, the tuft at the end of the tail, the cleats, the tips of the horns, and the rims of the ears are black color. In the male the extremity of the scrotum is black color.
Legs: Little short and fine they are of remarkable strength. The hooves are black color. The Aubrac breed has excellent legs. The hind legs have wide and tough hocks.
Horns: pointing obliquely and slightly to the front, and then upwards and finally twisting with the tip pointing backwards, they are black at the tip and as white as possible at the base.
Head: The muzzle, the rim of the eyelids and the eyelashes are black in color, surrounded by a white halo. The tongue is in slate color. The eye is lively and kind with a black color make-up like outline. The forehead is very flat and straight. The brow is square. The top knot is very wide and often frizzy. The ears are medium sized, thin and surrounded with black color hair. The head is expressive, the muzzle, small and wide.
Body: The neck and flanks are somewhat small, but the chest and loins are wide. The pelvis and hips are very well developed and level. The top line is straight, the chest is deep and the ribs are sprung. The dewlap is less developed but the crop is muscular. The thigh is thick, but not too rounded and very very long.
Tail: The tail is thin, along with an attachment not too prominent, well set and must end with a black color tuft.
Harmony: standing on four perfect legs, the Aubrac breed is a medium sized animal solid and sturdy showing characteristics of a robust animal.
Characteristics of Aubrac Cattle Breed:
The Aubrac cattle are known worldwide for their low maintenance cost, high longevity and their docility. They can live at high altitudes and can stand with harsh climates. The low maintenance cattle have the ability to create reserves when times are very good and utilize them when needed, saving the producers time and money. The breed also features their exceptional maternal calving ease, calving regularity, and very milking ability. They are extremely easy-keeping cattle, and they produce lean, but very high-quality carcasses.
The Aubrac breed is a well muscled, medium sized animal, which feeds well on low-cost roughage: grass and hay, thus dropping the production cost of the finished animal. In France, they live at an average altitude of 3,000 feet and can withstand harsh climates. In summer they forage on very poor vast pastures and spend the winter tied up in sheds on concrete. They have the ability to create reserves when times are very good and utilize them when needed.
Low Maintenance Cost:
Feed well on low-cost and low-grade roughage. In their part of France, fresh grass is only available for a maximum 4 months. In winter, these cattle are fed on hay with added minerals. The young stock might get silage if accessible.
Ease of Calving:
Excellent pelvic conformation is one of the main criteria in the selection of Aubrac bulls and cows. Cows calve easily both purebred and crossed with heavy muscled Charolais, Culard, etc.… The Aubrac breed bulls are used successfully in dairy and suckler herds for ease of calving. Calves are relatively very small, weighing 35kg -40kg. They are lively and hardy at birth with very high growth rates.
Very good fertility rate, and up to 98 percent of cows going back in calf.
One of their major attributes is docility.
Dense, continental type with marbling and very good taste. High bone to meat ratio and little waist. Details of kill-out results and boning percentage available further in the text.
Longevity, hardiness and very high fertility rates guarantee more calves over the lifetime of the cow.
Aubrac Cattle Development in America:
Aubrac breed cattle were introduced to North America as an efficient alternative to high-growth, grain-dependent cattle. They were introduced to the United States in 3 separate importations. The 1st occurred in the late 1970’s, the second in the early 1990’s and the third in the mid-1990’s. The Aubrac cattle breed in North America today enjoys strong genetic diversity as a result of these importations.
Milk production of Aubrac Cow
The Aubrac cows on average can produce up to 2,180 kg of milk per lactation. Milk of the Aubrac breed cows is of pretty good quality containing about 4.13 percent of fat.
Advantages of Aubrac Cattle Breed:
- Very excellent milking ability.
- The ease of calving.
- High-quality meat.
- Very Good quality milk.
- Very Well adapted to native climates.
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