The major asset of the breed is its ability to calve easily and without assistance, this is thanks to a pelvis only slightly inclined but above all to its unequalled pelvic area, the largest of any breed.  The Montana State University in the USA measured 153 Salers, 175 Angus and 94 Hereford yearlings and found the average pelvic areas of the Salers to be 15 square centimetres greater than the Herefords and 10 square centimetres greater than the Angus. In a similar study, the Colorado State University measured more than 900 yearlings representing 17 breeds in the USA and again confirmed that Salers had, on average, larger pelvic areas than any of the other breeds examined.

This is combined with a modest calf weight of 34-38 kg, a long narrow bodied calf with a small head and a short gestation period of 280 days.  Even when crossed with heavily muscled ‘terminal’ beef breeds, calving remains easy.  The French Salers Breed Society are unaware of any survey which does not rank Salers number one for ease of calving. This ease of calving has many positive consequences.

  • Reduced calf mortality
  • More calves weaned per cow mated
  • Increased cow longevity
  • Rapid return to heat
  • Reduced vet’s bills
  • Low labour inputs

The performance of females of various breeds was compared in the USA by the Meat Animal Research Centre.  Salers-cross females calving as two-year-olds had considerably fewer calving difficulties than traditional breeds. The table also shows that the MARC trials confirm that Salers cross females wean heavier calves, in turn leads to faster finishing times.

US Meat Animal Research Centre Trials (Cycle 4, Phase 3)
Breed Group of Dam Calving unassisted 200-day weight
Salers 85.7 523.9
Hereford-Angus 68.9 487.5
Charolais 72.9 498.7
Gelbvieh 70.7 507.7
Pinzqauer 64.0 508.1
Shorthorn 75.2 512.6
Galloway 74.9 449.2
Piedmontese 64.6 491.9

Many breeds claim easy calving, so personal experience of Salers is probably necessary to be convinced that they really are out on their own for calving ease in a beef breed. Talking with any Salers breeder should help.

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