The UPRA Salers (unit for the promotion and selection of Salers) is the formal grouping of the partners involved in breeding and promotion of Salers in France.
The breed has a breed genetic base in both meat and milk with the most recent census (2000) showing over 205,000 purebred cows present in France, 95% in beef and 5% in milk production.
The selection base consists of around 37,500 weight and milk recorded cows. Beef performance recorded cows have increased steadily by around 5 % per year for the last 20 years while the milk recorded population remains stable at 3000 cows.
The UPRA Salers, co-ordinator of the genetic improvement of the breed in France, has recently redefined the direction of the selection process. Thus growth rate and muscular development, particularly back muscle, will be improved but not at the expense of the fundamental characteristics of the breed. These are of course the maternal qualities of easy calving, fertility, rusticity, and good legs and feet. To push forward these objectives the UPRA has chosen an elite core of cows selected under the terms of the newly defined objectives from their IB0VAL indices and adult scores. Male claves from these cows selected from ancestry and weaning scores will be tested at the Sansac Veinazes Station to provide a supply of elite bulls.
The Samsac Veinazes Test Station
The Salers bull test station at Sansac Veinazes in the Cantal with its 90 places allows valid comparable performance assessment of bull calves between weaning in the Autumn and the return to grass in Spring. The calves, are selected by the Salers Herd Book Technicians, it’s AI organisation VALC and Borins Croissance which operates the National Recording (Weighing) Scheme. Selection is on the basis of the performance of sire and dams, their own performance plus their conformation and structural virtues. These weanlings replenish the pool of bulls of the selection base. An auction sale, open to all, of the 45 best bulls is held in the test station every year on the first Wednesday in April. Two or three bulls are taken into AI and of course a number are exported.