The first Charolais cattle arrived to Hungary in 1957 as part of a pilot program and the breeding of the race started in Szikszó State Farm in 1971.
Nowadays we have 180 members of National Association of Hungarian Charolais Cattle Breeders which was settled in 1992. More than 12 000 cows are kept in our registration, among them above 4 500 pedigree cows. The average herd size is close to 70, nevertheless we also have herds of over 600 cows.
Each member of our Association has the possibility to bring up a few pedigree herd sires – after finishing their Own Performance Test (OPT) (central or on farm). According to our regulation, only ranked stock herds have permission to produce more than 3 herd sires per year. Now we have 14 such stock herds which have permission to run on farm OPT. We tested well over 500 young bulls in 34 groups in 2015. It is easy to sell the young bulls as herd sires among the terminal cross breeders being that Charolais is the most popular breed for finishing in Hungary. More than one hundred breeding animals are sold in the surrounding countries (Slovakia, Romania, Serbia) per year. After weaning, most of the terminal cattle are sold abroad (Turkey, Greek, Croatia and Italy) and the partners are satisfied with the quality for fattening.
Type scoring, selection and classification of the young bulls are made by a committee consisting of breeders and one employee of the Association on the basis of verified weighing made by our national authority. In Hungary traditionally, the body structure is an important characteristic because of the bigger and often exposed pastures. The trainings for type scoring made by cooperation with the Herd Book Charolais France are always popular, so we have more than 50 members who can be involved in the process of classification. Strengthening the transparency, the analysis and the classification of each OPT groups can be studied on our website. http://www.charolais.hu/ujweb/index.php/hu/stv
The Hungarian Association started using BreedPlan in 2000 and now we make two performance runs per year. The breeding values can be studied both in English and Hungarian on the website of BreedPlan.Our national competition of breeding animals is organized during the biggest Hungarian agricultural exhibition in Hódmezővásárhely with about 50-70 cattle participating in the show. We also think about Show Judging with a little dilemma: how is the result of show judging in harmony with the general breeding aims. It makes it more difficult to give adequate answers for this question as there are a lot of French-type breeders and also a lot of ranch-type breeders in Hungary.
The polled Charolais are very popular among the terminal cross breeders. This is one of the most important characteristics, partly because of the environmental management, partly because there are some intense temperament beef breeds where the technology of dehorning is especially dangerous.
To the generally known ranch type Charolais, we have definitely well-muscled, narrow boned, polled cattle as well. Probably it is true that we have Europe’s biggest polled herd with 650 cows.
During the last ten years (after Hungary connected to the EU) the amount of the imported Charolais breeding animals increased a lot: we had a year when hundreds of heifers and dozens of young pedigree bulls were imported from France by the Hungarian farmers – first of all from the easy calving blood lines of Charolais Optimal but from the more robust lines also – and also remarkable amounts arrived from Swedish ranch type. Also it is very important to mention we import breeding material as an out-cross (semen and embryo) mainly from the above mentioned countries but also from the USA and Canada.
We were proud to host two Charolais World Congresses. The first was held in 1988, the second – together with two neighbouring countries, Slovakia and Czech Republic – in 2008.