The 2020 National Western Stock Show served as the 44th National Salers Open Show. Though somewhat new to the show ring relative to other breeds, Salers cattle have been around for some time.
Originating in the Auvergne region of South Central France, Salers are made to thrive in rough, variable climates. The topography of the region allows for little grain production which led Salers cattle breeders to focus on raising cattle which thrive on forage.
Salers cattle have a unique background and are considered to be one of the oldest and most genetically pure of all European breeds. Until recent years, Salers were not only known for beef production but milk production as well. From the 19th century through the late 20th century, Salers were improved and developed as a triple purpose animal – milk, meat and draught.
Some unique traits Salers possess are brown skin and pigmented membranes leading to fewer eye and udder problems. Additionally, their hair coat becomes thick and curly in the winter which allows them to adapt to the cold. They are also known for strong legs and good feet as, historically, cattle had to travel over rough ground for long periods of time. One especially distinctive trait is the breed’s large pelvic area. Comprehensive studies have shown Salers cattle have the largest pelvic area of all the major beef breeds.
Though Salers do not register the most numbers, there is still a lot of quality to be found in this historic and unique breed of cattle.