The Aubrac plateau, ranching land par excellence, welcomes an undeniable star, known beyond the borders of the region. The Aubrac cows are the queens, photographed from every angle by visitors marveling at their made-up eyes and their golden color. The Aubrac cow is the subject of a strict selection to obtain meat with an incomparable taste.
The Aubrac cow, the mannequin on the set
The Aubrac cow is a cattle breed of Mountain, which has adapted to its original environment. To recognize these animals, nothing could be easier, just observe their color. Not very tall, she has the lyre shaped horns and wheaten coat. The circumference of the muzzle is white and the extremities (ears, legs, tail) are black, but above all, they have the black lined eyes, which gives them an unmistakable and recognizable look among all other breeds of cow. Do not hesitate to stop at the edge of paths and roads and admire them in their pastures. Very photogenic, they often take a break so that you can bring back a souvenir when you return from vacation.
A local cow that almost disappeared
The Aubrac cow is a hardy breed, endemic to the Aubrac plateau. It is perfectly adapted to the extreme climatic conditions of the Massif Central. Temperature differences, wind, cold, do not scare him. It's a mixed cow, renowned for its ability to work, its milk production and the quality of its meat.
In the XNUMXth century, it was the golden age of the Aubrac breed. The breeders acclaim it and it is very widespread on the plateau. The evolution of agriculture in France, with the end of animal traction and mechanization, as well as the gradual closing of burons where the cheese was made, began the decline of the breed. To improve its meat qualities, crosses with meat cattle breeds, such as Charolais, have begun to appear. These crossings uncontrolled caused the decline of the Aubrac breed.
In the XNUMXs, a small group of passionate breeders, anxious to preserve these very special cattle, decided to revive purebred, without crossing. L'Union Aubrac (today OS Breed Aubrac) see the day. This is the organization responsible for controlling the selection of the Aubrac breed and its reproduction, according to specific characteristics. Since then, the number of Aubrac cows has continued to increase in the territory and has even developed in France and abroad.
Production today is essentially concentrated on a breeding for meat, in breastfeeding system.
A cow with strong breeding skills
The Aubrac cow is an efficient breed in the economy of the meat production, whether purebred Aubrac, or crossed with a bull from a specialized meat breed. Its qualities include:
- her maternal ability,
- its dairy performance
- his ability to walk
- its excellent fertility
- calving ease and regularity
- its ease of suckling calves
- its longevity, with an average culling age of 10 years
- the simplicity of its mode of conduct.
The breeders of the plateau favor a extensive farming, which promotes animals fed almost exclusively with grass and fodder produced on the farm. The calves are reared under the mother. The Aubrac cow is therefore a rustic suckler breed, with breeding qualities indisputable.
Livestock breeding that punctuates the life of the territory
The Aubrac breed has become the territory totem. You will be able to see it everywhere, in the pastures of course, but also on the fronts of restaurants, on souvenir objects, at the heart of traditional festivals and even on the logos of certain Laguiole cutlery.
The Aubrac bull, emblem of Laguiole
Often they impress visitors. The bulls, large, massive, with an often very dark almost black coat, impose their power. It is moreover an Aubrac bull which was chosen to become the emblem of the village of Laguiole. In 1947, a bronze statue representing an aubrac bull is located in the heart of the village. It pays homage to the Aubrac breed, pillar of the Aubrac economy.
Important events around the breed
The life of the set is also punctuated by important events around the breed Aubrac. One of the biggest takes place in May. It's here transhumance. The breeders take the cows up to the mountain pastures to spend the summer season there. This gives rise to a great traditional festival which attracts several thousand visitors each year.
In March, also takes place the feast of the fat oxen in Laguiole. This is an Aubrac beef auction. This is an opportunity for all livestock professionals to get together for a festive weekend combining good humor, conviviality and promotion of Aubrac meat production.
Many Aubrac breed competition are held in the fall. Breeders present their cattle so that they are recognized among the best according to different categories. The high point of the competition season is the national selection at the Agricultural show in Paris. Calves, cows, bulls are presented to the general public. This is an opportunity to promote the Aubrac breed throughout France.