The Aubrac breed has become increasingly popular amongst Suckler farmers and finishers in Ireland in recent years and is it any wonder!
The French breed are not only famed for their benefits to the beef production and finishing industry, but Aubrac cows are also well-known for producing high-quality milk for their young. Could they be the perfect choice for Ireland’s Suckler Farmers?
Keep reading below to find out all you need to know about the breed!
The Breed -
Hailing from France, the first references to the Aubrac breed date back over 150 years ago. A naturally horned breed, they were historically reared for both meat and milk production, with milk used to make Laguiole cheese in France.
The breed is unique in its colouration, with Aubrac’s usually a fawn-golden colour, with black pigmentation on their hooves, ear rims, horn tips, cleats and tail tips. They are also known to have a slight brindling effect on their coat, whilst bulls usually have dark, black hair on their shoulders.
Although a medium-sized beef breed, Aubrac cattle are also extremely powerful and hardy in nature.
- Hardy and adaptable - A very strong, hardy breed, Aubrac cattle can cope with almost any climatic environment. They were originally reared at heights of 3,000 feet in their native France and can store energy in reserve for tougher times. They can also thrive on poor-quality pastures. A perfect choice for Ireland?
- Healthy - Aubrac cattle are known for having a superior immune system to most breeds. They are also a highly disease-resistant breed and rarely succumb to the usual illnesses found in cattle. Aubrac cows also have excellent, health, tidy udders and rarely suffer from udder problems.
- Abundance of Milk - As mentioned previously, Aubrac cattle are known for their ability to produce high-quality milk for their young. The average Aubrac cow will produce up to 2,250kgs of milk per lactation, with a butterfat level of 4.2%!
- Easy Calvers - For the average Suckler farmer, having an easy-calving breed is of the upmost importance. This is what makes Aubrac cattle the perfect choice as roughly 97% of all births require zero assistance. Calves when born usually weigh from 35-40kgs, another reason behind the easy births.
- Highly Fertile - Known for their high fertility levels. One calf per year is a guarantee and 98% of the time, Aubrac cows will go back in calf. They also have a shorter gestation period than most breeds, at 281 days.
- Long-living - Aubrac cows are also famed for living long lives. This means they will not only produce more calves, but also help farmers cut down on replacement costs.
- Beefy Build - Aubrac cattle are of medium build, with cows weighing an average of 750kgs and bulls reaching up to 1,100kgs! They are an excellent breed for beef production purposes and have high kill-out weights.
- Early Finishers - Aubrac bulls are early finishers, making them suitable for any beef finishing system. This is due to the excellent feed-to-weight conversion of the breed. At 210 days old, the average Aubrac bull calf should weight approximately 350kgs!
- Meat Quality - The meat from Aubrac cattle is not only well marbled, but also tender and with a great taste. They have a very high beef to meat ratio, with little waste!
- Temperament - A docile breed with a gentle temperament, this is what makes Aubrac’s a great choice for Suckler farmers. They are an ideal choice for those farmers starting off their agricultural enterprise.
- Maternal skills - Aubrac cows are the ultimate calf protectors and will protect their offspring anyway they can. They possess great mothering instincts, making one less worry for farmers.
Current ICBF Active Aubrac bulls List - There are currently 8 active Aubrac bulls on the ICBF active bull list. Check out the top five below!
1) Deerpark Kevin/ AU4309 - Rank 59: Semen supplied by Eurogene with High availability at €11 per straw.
Terminal: Index = €144, Reliability = 50%, Stars W - 5.0, Stars A - 5.0
Calving: Difficulty = 3.00%, Reliability -=71%, Gestation = -0.9 days, Reliability = 78%.
Docility: Docility = 0%, Reliability = 54%.
Carcass Traits: Carcass Weight = 26kgs, Reliability = 45%, Carcass Conformation = 1.93, Reliability = 42%.
2) Despagnou / DPZ - Rank 117: Semen supplied by Bova at €10 per straw and a medium availability.
Terminal: Index = €130, Reliability = 85%, Stars W - 4.0, Stars A - 5.0.
Calving: Difficulty = 5.10%, Reliability = 93%, Gestation = 0.8 days, Reliability = 93%.
Docility: Docility = 0.06%, Reliability = 88%
Carcass Traits: Carcass Weights = 25kgs, Reliability = 94%, Carcass conformation = 2.00, Reliability = 92%.
3) Cesar/ AU2470 - Rank 159: Semen supplied by Eurogene at €14 per straw and a high availability.
Terminal: Index = €122, Reliability = 57%, Stars W 4.0, Stars A 4.0,
Calving: Difficulty = 4.10%, Reliability = 81%, Gestation = 0.7 days, Reliability = 89%,
Docility: Docility = -0.06, Reliability = 69%.
Carcass Traits: Carcass Weights = 24kgs, Reliability = 54%, Carcass conformation = 2.15, Reliability 49%,
Picture Above - Eurogene
4) Tenor/ TNX - Rank 252: Semen supplied by Dovea at €10 per straw, with a high availability.
Terminal: Index = €101, Reliability = 84%, Stars W 2.0, Stars A 2.0.
Calving: Difficulty = 4.30% , Reliability = 88%, Gestation = 0.0 , Reliability = 91%.
Docility: Docility = 0.03%, Reliability = 78%.
Carcass Traits: Carcass Weights = 16kgs, Reliability = 94%, Carcass conformation = 1.73 , Reliability = 92%.
5) Duches / DSH - Rank 259: Semen supplied by NCBC at €12 and with High availability.
Terminal: Index = €100, Reliability = 86%, Stars W 2.0, Stars A 3.0,
Calving: Difficulty = 6.10% , Reliability = 93%, Gestation = 1.9 days, Reliability = 96%,
Docility: Docility = 0.11, Reliability = 89%
Carcass Traits: Carcass Weights = 21kgs, Reliability = 95%, Carcass conformation = 1.87, Reliability = 93%.
Check out the other bulls on the ICBF Active bulls list here.
Other pictures of Active bulls taken from Aubrac Society Website, see here for more.