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Saulieu – Charolais Festival

The town of Saulieu (21 Cote de’Or, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté) holds an annual Charolais Festival (Fete du Charolais) 16 – 18 August 2019.

Charolais FestivalThis event celebrates this very French breed of cows, with their distinctive white coats and broad shoulders. They are known for the quality of the meat (very French!). The name comes from the area around the town of Charolles (71 Saône-et-Loire, BFC).

The event sounds much like a country agricultural fair, with parades, competitions to find the best in breed and folk music and dancing. Being French there is also a chance to taste a fine Charolais steak – and being Burgundy I suspect a glass of wine might also be on offer,

For more info on the Charolais Festival see http://www.cotedor-tourisme.com


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Charolais is the leading beef sire noted for its fast growth and excellent conformation. Charolais cattle are creamy white through to wheaten in colour. Bulls are noted for muscling, with excellent loins, good hindquarters and deep second thigh, while females are less heavily muscled and have well developed udders. Charolais stand on four strong feet and legs and should be alert.

Charolais was the first Continental breed of cattle to be introduced to Great Britain and it revolutionized our beef industry. The initial importation of bulls, which was led by dairy producers seeking a superior sire to improve their calves’ conformation, arrived in the late 1950s. These bulls were licensed solely for use through AI companies. The importations met with fierce resistance in certain sectors, particularly since Britain was reputed to be the stockyard of the world.

On arrival, Charolais immediately demonstrated its superiority over native breeds in terms of growth rate, conformation and killing out percentage, not only to dairy producers but also to key players in the beef industry. The breed’s general acceptance was confirmed in 1962 with the establishment of the British Charolais Cattle Society (BCCS), after which its popularity grew to the extent by 1970, Charolais was regarded as the international leading terminal beef sire. The following year the first British bred Charolais bull achieved a five figure sum with Kersknowe Festival selling for 10,000gns to the former Scottish Milk Marketing Board. Scores of Charolais bulls have followed since at five figure sums including at Perth in1988, Maerdy Director changed hands for a British record fertile bull price of 56,000gns and Decrespigny Debutante achieved a female record price of 27,000gns at Carlisle in 1989. British Charolais Cattle Society

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