Four things to know about the Salers breed whose national competition is held in Brive (Corrèze)

This is obvious for those who know and appreciate Cantal, but much less in the rest of France or in the Francophonie. Whether for the name of the village, for the cheese and the cattle breed, we do not pronounce the final “s” of Salers.

However, it is indicated in many dictionaries, and some may therefore consider that both pronunciations are possible. We still want to warn you: insisting on the final “s” of salers is frowned upon in Cantal and by connoisseurs.

Little black dress

A curly mahogany coat and long lyre-shaped horns: that’s all it takes to recognize a Salers cow at first glance.

But there are also animals with black coats and this is not an anomaly. Within the Salers breed, there is a second strain, which appears with more or less regularity in the herds.

The black Salers has the same characteristics as its mahogany counterpart, even if it is credited with the ability to produce more milk and be even more maternal. She was saved in extremis by a handful of breeders. The legend says that in the past, a black salers was considered a lucky charm.

Bells like jewels

In mountain pastures or in immense meadows, they are very useful for locating a lost animal, especially if it is dark or if there is fog. This is why the salers, a mountain race, let us remember, wear bells around their necks.

The tradition is still alive and some look like little jewels. At the Brive national competition, there are bells richly decorated or bearing the mention of the event. The first prices are around 80 euros.

Dual output

The Salers breed can produce meat as well as milk, to make cheese. A breeding system, baptized Traditional Salers, reconciles this dual production. It has been adopted by 35 farms, according to the Salers Evolution group, which has set itself the task of coordinating the genetic improvement program for the breed.

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There are three types of cheese made from the milk of Salers cows with a protected designation of origin (AOP): traditional Salers, raw milk Cantal and farmhouse Saint-Nectaire.

The Salers cow, queen of agroecology? Before the national competition in Brive (Corrèze), we asked a specialist

Eric Door

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