Origin of breed
The Aubrac are found in Aveyron-Lozère, France. This breed originated from a small town called Aubrac in the Auvergne, Southern France during the late 1800’s. The first recording of registered Aubrac cattle date back to 1894. A reading of these records revealed that the selection for what would become the Aubrac breed began much earlier than that year. Their development started during the 1600's at the Benedictine Abbey of Aubrac, where the controlled breeding was practiced until the Abbey was destroyed during the French Revolution.
These low maintenance cattle have proved successful for many cattlemen and their herds for centuries. The Auvergne, where these cattle were originally developed, is rough and mountainous so grain production was not an option for feeding cattle in the region. These cattle were selected for their hardiness, milking ability, and superior forage efficiency. The Aubrac feeds well on low cost roughage: grass and hay, thus reducing the production cost of the finished animal.
Although it is primarily used for beef, historically it was used to create traditional Laguiole cheese.
The Aubrac is a well-muscled animal that is moderate in frame size. Their sturdy robust build and short strong legs make them ideal for mountainous regions. Their color is fawn with varying shades, which range from wheat to pale grey. The coat is darker on the shoulders and on the croup. The switch at the end of the tail, the cleats, nose, the tips of the horns, and the rims of the ears and eyes are black. Their horns slightly twist backwards, although many Aubrac are now polled. The weight of an average adult bull ranges from 2000 to 2500 lbs. An average cow weighs from 1200 to 1700 lbs. and calves at birth weigh between 80 to 90 lbs.
The Aubrac are known worldwide for their low maintenance cost, high longevity and their docility. They can live at high altitudes and can stand harsh climates. The low maintenance cattle have the ability to create reserves when times are good and utilize them when needed, saving the producers time and money. The breed also features their exceptional maternal calving ease, calving regularity, and milking ability. They are extremely easy-keeping cattle, and they produce lean, but high-quality carcasses.
This breed can feed on rough forage such as grass and hay and still finish well.
Development in America
Aubrac cattle were introduced to North America as an efficient alternative to high-growth, grain-dependent cattle. They were introduced to the United States in three separate importations. The first occurred in the late 1970’s, the second in the early 1990’s and the third in the mid-1990’s. The Aubrac breed in North America today enjoys strong genetic diversity as a result of these importations.
Some of the U.S. original founders include the Svomas of Wisconsin, Dr. Wayne Vanderwert of Missouri, Eric Grant of Colorado/Missouri, Scott Fredrickson of Montana, and Wayne Bollum of Minnesota. All of these cattlemen have remained committed to the breed since the early 1990’s or earlier.
American, Mexican and Canadian producers have recognized the "grass attributes" of Aubrac cattle, and are rapidly integrating the breed's genetics into their herds. Aubracs are the perfect complement to Angus and Angus-based herds, adding more mass and muscle without adversely increasing mature size.
Registry and improvement programs
Throughout the twentieth Century, advances in technology have made selection methods very efficient and have clearly improved the quality of the breed. Today there is a strong emphasis on traits such as calving regularity, longevity, muscle growth and flexibility for grass fed and corn fed systems. Aubrac are ideal for today's beef production. They are structurally sound and problem-free, possessing excellent foraging abilities and maternal and reproductive soundness.
Aubrac International Inc. is located in Terry, Montana.