The Aubrac Cattle Breed Society is set to host a series of farm walks across the country next week.

The farm walks will run from Monday, April 11, to Thursday, April 14, on the farms of Aubrac breeders.

Experts on the Aubrac breed from France will be on hand to speak about the cattle breed and give background information on the breed’s origins, as well as the breed’s characteristics and standards.

The farm walks taking place are as follows:

  • Monday, April 11, 5.00p.m: Farm of James and John Whelehan, Ballycarroll, Portarlington, Co. Laois. Eircode: R32 PA03;
  • Tuesday, April 12, 6:00p.m: Farm of James Ryan, Glengar, Doon, Co. Limerick. Eircode: V94 E621;
  • Wednesday, April 13, 6:00p.m: Farm of Martin Bermingham, Imanemore, Barnaderg, Co. Galway, Eircode: H54 CK83;
  • Thursday, April 14, 3:00p.m: Farm of Shane and Joanne Bowers,Shrubbywood, Coole, Co. Westmeath. Eircode: N91 HW03.

A statement from the Aubrac Cattle Breed Society has outlined that Aubrac bulls currently have some of the top places in the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) Dairy Beef Index, with bulls such as Dauphin, Despagnou and Madison.

Concluding, the society added that the farm walks “will be a great opportunity to learn about the breed and its potential, particularly as a top beef-cross selection for dairy farmers”.

Campaign to widen appeal

The farm walks take place as the cattle breed society is mounting a campaign to widen the appeal of the breed among dairy farmers.

Chairman of the Aubrac Cattle Breed Society, James Donnellan, who farms Aubrac cattle organically in Co. Galway, said: “The choices that dairy farmers have to produce beef-cross cattle are limited, particularly from their heifers.

“Aubrac bulls are, for the most part, very easy calving and have the ability to put condition on dairy-cross cattle more effectively than the traditional beef choices.

“They can also do this on lower quality feed, and produce finished cattle quicker that grade very strongly and with high kill-out percentages.

“These traits are demonstrated in the high genetic scores and rankings that Aubrac bulls consistently achieve in ICBF and Eurostar ratings.”

The meat produced from Aubrac cattle is gaining popularity, in particular among craft butchers, according to the society.

“Aubrac meat has an excellent flavour and texture,” Donnellan added.

“Our breeders want to spread the word with consumers and the best way we can do this is to increase the numbers of Aubrac-cross cattle that are available, by encouraging more dairy farmers to use Aubrac for their beef-cross.”

About the Aubrac breed

Aubrac cattle have been around for a couple of hundred years, originating in the mountainous regions of the Auvergne and France’s Massif Central.

This region bred hardy cattle that could survive harsh terrain and thrive on a meagre diet, according to the society.

In their region of origin, the cattle also had to be easy calving as the chances of assistance at calving were non-existent.

It is from these genetic fundamentals that the modern breed has been developed. 

A small number of enthusiastic breeders established the breed in Ireland just a few decades ago.

The breeders saw the potential of the cattle, with their dark eyes and snout and gentle temperament, to introduce important beef traits that were needed by Irish farmers.