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By MIRANDA KENNY
FRENCH beef cattle breed is
growing in popularity in the
Le Wonga Stud owners Steve and
Jen McCourt, Mount Gambier,
began breeding Salers shortly after
they were first imported to Australia
Bulls from their closed stud herd
are popular among their clients and
some of their neighbours, who see
how well the Saler stud and com-
mercial herds have thrived on their
The McCourts run a small herd of
75 cattle, two thirds of which is a
commercial composite herd of Saler-
Simmental-Angus bloodlines. The
remainder is the stud herd.
"We've scaled down a lot and kept
the best of the herd," Steve said.
"We went into Salers because we
thought they'd go well with our
Burkes Island Red cattle (Devon-
Santa Gertrudis genetics) that I
inherited when my father, Tom
"The opportunity arose to buy
embryos from Canada and imported
semen from America and it all grew
Steve said that on a trip to New
Zealand he had been impressed by
the breed's ability to thrive in diffi-
"The Salers I saw in NZ were being
run in mountain areas to eat
roughage that sheep couldn't get to,"
"They were still getting 100 per
cent in calf in poorer conditions."
Steve said the Saler was an easy
care, maternal breed of cattle.
"They have the largest pelvic area
of any beef breed," he said. "This
means that calving is not an issue.
"I've had up to three calves on a
cow at times."
He said Salers were also very fer-
"Cows have a short gestation and
usually return within a year," he
said. "I have moved from spring to
autumn calving in the past five
Calves weigh 36 kilograms to 40
kg at birth, and reach a peak weight
of 550kg live weight, with a nine-
month weaned average at 450kg.
They also have a high-yielding
meat carcase, at 58 per cent to 60pc.
"My next door neighbour, an ex-
stock agent, has Salers and he has
produced calves that at 18-months
have a similar carcase to two-year-
old Angus and Simmentals," Steve
"He couldn't believe the returns."
The McCourts have operated a
closed stud herd for the past 10
years and have run an artificial
insemination program for 25 years
using Canadian and United States
"Our registered cattle have more
improved genetics than anyone else
breeding Salers in Australia," he
"They are big cattle but they
haven't got the leg under them that
they used to.
"We've scaled down the size."
Steve said that while he liked
Salers, they were a very intelligent
breed of cattle and required experi-
"They are a lot quieter and gentler
now than they were 10 years ago."
• Need to know more?
Steve and Jenny McCourt
0408 838 683
Salers suit farmers in SE
Steve keeps an eye on his Le Wonga Saler Stud herd at his Mount Gambier
Steve McCourt said Salers made an excellent maternal breed of cattle, being easy care and with the largest pelvic area
of any beef breed.
Maternal and easy care
Thrive in tough conditions
High fertility rates
Excellent calf growth rate
High yielding meat carcase
Require experienced handlers
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