The origins of the Normande breed:
The most widespread hypothesis has the Normande resulting from the cross-breeding of the Cotentine, Augeronne, and Cauchoise breeds into one homogeneous breed. The Cotentine (red brindled coat) was described as a tall cow, heavier than normal, and above all an excellent milk cow. The Augeronne breed (“mottled white” coat) was smaller and known above all for its quality as beef cattle, less coarse and more readily fattened than the Cotentine. And lastly, the “Cauchoise” (red pied coat, with a dash of Flemish blood), whose big distinguishing feature compared with the other branches was its white or almost entirely white head (at least two-thirds).
1914: The first Milk and Butter Control Council was created in the Caux region. It was initiated by Mr. Lange, a Caux breeder who from 1907 onwards recorded the results from his
herd in a notebook and related them to the animals' position in the pasture or the byre, what food they received, and the animals' state of health. Following on from this, in 1923, the first Milk
Control Council was founded in Cotentin. At the time, a good butter cow had to produce over 130kg of butter per year. In 1924, the national contest for the best milk cow was won by a Normande called
Myrtille, a descendant of the bull Silencieux, with a production of 7240kg of milk and 400kg of butter.
1946: Artificial Insemination developed very quickly thanks to the freezing of semen. The first frozen semen bank was created at L'Aigle in 1960. One outstanding event sealed the success of this technique: in 1968 a (Normande) heifer was born 10 years after the death of her father!
1952: The AI technique allowed wholesale use of a single bull's semen, therefore enabling the qualities transmitted by a bull to be evaluated via his descendants. The SCTN (Normande Bull Control Board) was founded and started putting young bulls to progeny test: 350 cows were inseminated with the intention to obtain 40 daughers on test for their first lactation. At the start, the test bulls still belonged to the breeders, then later, the semen production centres acquired the right to buy their own breeding animals. In 1958, the GNA was founded to make it easier to acquire males for the semen production centres.