Aubrac Cattle

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WalnutCrest
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Aubrac Cattle

Postby WalnutCrest » Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:47 am

Some of these photos are of long-dead animals ... some are of animals still around. I've posted them in groups in hopes that one can see some multi-generational influences. Realize that this is only a small subset of what I have going on in Aubracs and is only intended to focus on a few things relating to what we're doing now.

Earlier today, I posted pictures of four bulls that led to a variety of other questions -- rather than side-tracking that thread, I thought it a good idea to start a new one.

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Echo -- long since dead; exported to the UK as a calf, out of a herd known for producing bulls that produce high-quality daughters -- I have one of his grand-daughters (and she's really nice) but, other than this one animal, not much is known about this bull (and yet I have semen in the tank):
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Frumius - long since dead -- very highly inbred out of the earliest genetics imported to North America from France in the early/mid 1970s; those who had this bull in their pasture described his temperament as being like Eeyore (the donkey in Winnie the Pooh) ... another bull in our tank:
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Edgar -- long since dead (exported to the UK from France as a calf) ... another bull in our tank:
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Mignard (11-13 years here) -- long since dead -- the only Aubrac bull to ever win the Paris All-Breed Show (which he did twice); renown for the quality of his daughters:
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Espiegle -- Mignard daughter ... we have semen on one of her sons (full brother to Michelle below):
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Michelle (newborn and 2yr old) -- Edgar x. Espiegle:
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Hector AIA -- double muscle carrier; his daughters have among the highest scores for "ability to calve easily" ever tracked in France ... we have semen on him, a son and a grandson, and we have four of his granddaughters:
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Nolan (12yrs old here) -- son of Hector AIA; no indication he was a DM carrier ... four daughters are in the herd:
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Maximus -- son of Nolan ... mother is out of a different Mignard daughter; no indication he was a DM carrier ... we have semen on him.
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Navet (15mo or so) -- Nolan daughter and full sister to Maximus; no indication she was a DM carrier:
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Violet (8.5yrs old here) -- Nolan daughter and her mother is full sister to Navet's mother; no indication she's a DM carrier:
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Upra (10yrs old here) -- Nolan x. Michelle; no indication she is a DM carrier:
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Our management --
Grass and mineral. Rotational grazing. Hay in a round feeder or rolled out in a pinch and/or for rehabbing a part of the pasture.


Our beef marketing --
We direct market "grassfed, all natural, no grain, no GMO, no vaccines, no antibiotics" meat direct to families. If any of the critters gets anything they shouldn't, then we simply sell them as finished "grassfed" beef.


Our herd ---
Heifers are kept in the cow herd only if they give their second calf by their third birthday. Failure at any step along the way (i.e., an open heifer) gets them kicked out. Females that make it that far (i.e., the second calf before the third year) are scored -- the shorter the calving interval between calves one and two is the higher the score. The heifers with the higher scores are, preliminarily, deemed to be our most genetically fertile females.

Bull calves are kept based only based upon their ability to flesh and mature early sexually. We monitor that based upon a ratio taken at 8mo and again at 12mo where we triangulate between current hip height, projected mature hip height, current weight and projected adult weight ... we use the standard frame-score charts to project a given hip height at a certain age to an adult hip height and adult weight. The greater the percentage of the projected adult weight that a bull calf is at 8mo and 12mo, we deem that bull calf to be easier fleshing and earlier maturing. The higher the ratio, the better the yearling bull calf for our environment and management. We cut the lowest performers (say the bottom 2/3), keep the top performers (say the top 1/3) in tact -- the top one or two are kept here as cleanup and the others are sold as yearlings. We keep the higher-scoring yearlings to be our cleanup bull(s) for the subsequent year ... and then, sell them as proven bulls at 18-24 months of age.

We flush our top cows to the best semen we have in the tank ... then sell some to those who are interested and implant those embryos we retain in our cows (using our top yearling bull(s) as cleanup). We will, generally, AI the heifers and then turn them in with the bull(s). We try to keep to a 66 day breeding window -- for example, the embyros are set to go in on/around June 1st and then the ladies will go with the bull until August 5th ... we'll preg check sometime in early/mid September and will try to have our bulls sold before the end of September (so that people who do fall calving can get them in time for them to go to work).

The best bulls in the tank are determined based on the actual productivity of calves sired by each particular bull ... where actual producer experiences with calf temperament and production is used to drop or raise any particular bull. For US-bred bulls (like Maximus and Nolan above) we go off of the general assessments of the producers who have used the bulls and have tracked the progeny for multiple generations. For the French bred bulls, it's much easier, as they have substantial amounts of performance statistics on the offspring of each bull (similar to EPDs, but only based on actual experience, not estimated based on lab tests).

Cull decisions -- temperament is our first cull decision -- however ... given the small numbers currently, we're more lenient with the adult cow temperament than the calves temperament ... and as we grow, we will be unapologetic in culling for temperament regardless of age (three of our oldest girls are quite new here, and came from a ranch where they saw white man on foot maybe twice a year for the last five or six years and as a result aren't really that keen to see me in the pasture just yet). Once temperament is determined to be acceptable, we cull for fertility (bulls not passing annual BSE and cows who are not preggo 60 days (ish) after the breeding season is over. We could also cull for space (if our pastures are getting crowded, we'll move some animals).

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So, that's a bit of information about our animal selection methods ... and pictures of a few of the animals we have on the hoof and in the tank.

I'd love to talk phenotype ... selection ... etc. with anyone who wishes a productive discussion --- focused on putting great animals on the ground.

I've got some strong ideas, but I know that there are always ways to improve --- your thoughts are appreciated. Thanks.
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Re: Aubrac Cattle

Postby Backbone Ranch » Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:49 am

I really like the looks of Nolan and Maximus. They are muscular and have the proper phenotype to thrive on a strictly grass program.
I like the Mignard daughter because she is very feminine. I also like Violet and Upra. They have great phenotypes with good udders.
How big is your herd?
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Re: Aubrac Cattle

Postby glacierridge » Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:31 am

With the exception of the last two that you had older ages listed, did all the females that you posted meet your three year old criteria?

I find it very interesting that even tho the 4 original bulls you posted are so different, you still retain all but one in your tank.
You didn't mention Mignard.

I really appreciate good hip and length to all these animals posted.
Even tho they don't have a tall frame to them I'll be willing to bet they have a really decently high bone out lean to their carcass in comparison to other breeds of the same frame size.

What is the polled status on the breed?
I notice a few of the adults don't have horns but most do.
Were they dehorned or are some lacking horns naturally?
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Re: Aubrac Cattle

Postby KNERSIE » Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:49 am

Some great cattle in these pics, others not so great..
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Re: Aubrac Cattle

Postby lithuanian farmer » Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:11 am

Very nice stock. In my country Aubracs is one of the most popular breeds with Limousines and Charolais, but we haven't tried them ,because of bad reviews about their temperament. Here they have been used for developing Shorbracs. It's a beef breed, 1/2 Aubrac, 1/4 Shorthorn and 1/4 Galloway. People usually use this kind females for breeding with Charolais bull. Not very big cows, but have plenty of milk and produce quite good calves.
Also the most popular cross using Aubrac cows here is with Charolais and recently with Culard Charolais bulls. It's very good cross. Calves are weaned big, because that dams have plenty of milk, they are very growthy and big framed, also heavy muscled and have high kill out.
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Re: Aubrac Cattle

Postby WalnutCrest » Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:57 pm

Backbone Ranch wrote:I really like the looks of Nolan and Maximus. They are muscular and have the proper phenotype to thrive on a strictly grass program.


There are some crazy stories about Maximus and his libido.

They do have very proper phenotype for what we're trying to do here. We're very glad to have these genes on the hoof and in the tank.

Backbone Ranch wrote:I like the Mignard daughter because she is very feminine. I also like Violet and Upra. They have great phenotypes with good udders.


The daugthers / granddaughters out of Hector AIA are really something else. The other half of the equation was a bull named Invincible ... unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of him.

For the early importation of genetics from France in the early 1990s, Hector and Invincible were each flushed to multiple different Mignard daugthers and then those cattle were bred together ... resulting in what you see here.

Backbone Ranch wrote:How big is your herd?


Well, we just moved and our pastures are a mess ... so, we're reducing numbers ... keeping the best (obviously) and possibly adding a couple of younger animals (reducing the average age of our herd in the process).

We have 20 total animals (which includes the first calf of the year, a heifer born almost two weeks ago). We're considering butchering as many as nine more (four old cows and five steers) and replacing them with six bred cows to be recips for us.

That said, we have a sufficient amount and diversity of semen that we should be good for quite some time.

glacierridge wrote:With the exception of the last two that you had older ages listed, did all the females that you posted meet your three year old criteria?


Every Aubrac cow we have here on the farm has met everything we've thrown at them.

glacierridge wrote:I find it very interesting that even tho the 4 original bulls you posted are so different, you still retain all but one in your tank. You didn't mention Mignard.


Mignard semen doesn't exist. We have semen on one of his maternal grandsons (i.e., semen from a bull that's out of a Mignard daughter), a full brother to Michelle (above).

glacierridge wrote:I really appreciate good hip and length to all these animals posted. Even tho they don't have a tall frame to them I'll be willing to bet they have a really decently high bone out lean to their carcass in comparison to other breeds of the same frame size.


Aubracs do typically have good yields, however, what they're really known for is the size of their ribeyes. In fact, a friend of mine just butchered two 8mo old bull calves ... hot weight was about 350lbs and the ribeyes on each one was over 12".

glacierridge wrote:What is the polled status on the breed? I notice a few of the adults don't have horns but most do. Were they dehorned or are some lacking horns naturally?


Fullbloods are horned.

Mignard knocked off one horn early in his life ... the other FBs without horns were dehorned at some point along the way. If you see a polled Aubrac, then it is a percentage animal.

KNERSIE wrote:Some great cattle in these pics, others not so great..


Out of curiosity, which ones stood out to you and why?

lithuanian farmer wrote:Very nice stock. In my country Aubracs is one of the most popular breeds with Limousines and Charolais, but we haven't tried them ,because of bad reviews about their temperament. Here they have been used for developing Shorbracs. It's a beef breed, 1/2 Aubrac, 1/4 Shorthorn and 1/4 Galloway. People usually use this kind females for breeding with Charolais bull. Not very big cows, but have plenty of milk and produce quite good calves.


A friend of mine raises Black Angus and Aubrac, and I'll paraphrase his summary of their relative temperaments --- Aubracs tend to find less comfort in humans than Black Angus, they're more of a herd animal. Some lines tend towards being more easily excitable than others, and so if this is a prime consideration, then paying attention to the genetic lines you use is an important consideration.

For us, temperament is criteria #1 when deciding whether or not to keep / sell / butcher any calf. Due to small numbers, we're more tolerant of our cows, however, as our numbers grow, we'll be just as hard on them. Due to the many many years of breeding different lines, we have a good handle on which bulls tend to produce calmer calves than others ... and we're focusing on the best phenotyped bulls on our "calm calf" list.

lithuanian farmer wrote:Also the most popular cross using Aubrac cows here is with Charolais and recently with Culard Charolais bulls. It's very good cross. Calves are weaned big, because that dams have plenty of milk, they are very growthy and big framed, also heavy muscled and have high kill out.


Here is a picture I received from a friend -- he took this picture when in France of an Aubrac cow with her Aubrac x. DM Charolais calf.

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Re: Aubrac Cattle

Postby glacierridge » Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:17 pm

You still have all those females?
How old would Michelle be?

That hybrid calf looks tasty.
What's the age of it there if you happen to know?
I'm curious on the weaning weights.
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Re: Aubrac Cattle

Postby WalnutCrest » Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:23 pm

Michelle is no longer around. In the pictures above, she's a newborn and then at about 2yrs.

Not sure about the hybrid ... you can find out lots of info about them by searching Fleur d'Aubrac. It's an elite branded beef program in Europe. Lots of carcass data on their website.
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Re: Aubrac Cattle

Postby Chuckie » Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:29 pm

Beautiful cattle. I did a search on search engine, and clicked on images, and the majority of the cattle had superior muscling over other breeds. I am impressed.
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Re: Aubrac Cattle

Postby lithuanian farmer » Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:04 pm

http://derrybrackaubracs.yolasite.com/a ... esults.php
One Aubrac x Culard Charolais bull kill out results. The main problem I see is legs, but for fattening it's not a problem.
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Re: Aubrac Cattle

Postby Cesar Tijerina » Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:23 pm

very nice cattle
I hope you are still in bussines
I´m from Mexico in the tropics and Aubrac an Masona cattle are drawing attention very heavily lattely
I want to aks if you have semen from your younger Bulls
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Re: Aubrac Cattle

Postby WalnutCrest » Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:26 pm

I have semen.

I will send you a PM here.
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Re: Aubrac Cattle

Postby Stocker Steve » Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:57 pm

"I'd love to talk phenotype ... selection ... etc. with anyone who wishes a productive discussion --- focused on putting great animals on the ground."

There are a couple animals pictured that appear to be deep from the side, but most look continental, with much more muscle but less capacity than many British breeds. Would you agree?
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Re: Aubrac Cattle

Postby WalnutCrest » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:37 pm

Which animals are you seeing that look like you like (assuming that looking continental isn't what you're looking for)?
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Re: Aubrac Cattle

Postby Stocker Steve » Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:38 am

WalnutCrest wrote:Which animals are you seeing that look like you like (assuming that looking continental isn't what you're looking for)?


I like them all.
I think it is more a question on where you would use continental looking animals vs. higher capacity animals.
To me some of the deeper appearing stock are Nolan, Maximus, Violet...
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