Specifications of Simmental heifers
- Age pregnant heifers: between 24-32 months at time of calving
- Age open heifers: 6-12 months
- Pedigree registered
- Lactation between 16-20 liters per day
- Anual lactation of 5.000-6.000 liters/year
- Fat: 3.9%
- Protein: 3,5%
- Milk & beef production
The Simmental livestock / cattle breed is a cattle breed with dual- use purpose. This breed milk and beef cattle breed finds its first steps in the Middle Ages. There are proven sources that give indications that the Simmental breed is a combination between German cattle and Swiss cattle. The name Simmental is from origin from the ”Simme Valley” in Berner Oberland in Switzerland.
In Switzerland this breed is named Simmental, in Germany and Austria they call it Fleckvieh. France has its own name for Simmental: Montbéliarde and Pie Rouge de l’Est.
In the year 1785, the Swiss Parliament limited the export of Simmental breed animals, because of a shortage of Simmental livestock / cattle to meet their own needs. The Swiss Simmental Cattle Association was founded in 1890.
The worldwide export of the Simmental livestock / cattle breed took place until the late 1960s. Documents show that in 1400 just a small group of cattle has been exported to Italy. In the 19th century, Simmental livestock / cattle breed were distributed to Eastern European countries, the Balkans, Russia and South Africa in 1895. Guatemala imported Simmental livestock / cattle breed for the first time in 1897, with Brazil and Argentina following in 1918 and 1922.
In the US, the first Simmentals arrived in the beginning of the 20th century. But it did not convince the early adapter in the US. Later on in the 1960’s, the Simmental breed got a 2nd chance to enter the market and succeeded! In 1967, the Simmental cattle breed made their presence in the USA when Mr Travers Smith imported the famous bull named “Parisien” from France. The export of purebred Simmental semen to the USA started also that year.
Swiss started to export the Simmental cattle breed to Britain, Ireland and Norway in the 1970’s. Folowed by Australia, former Yugoslavia and Republic of China.
The population of Simmental livestock / cattle breed is globally around 40-60 million head, with more than half of this population in Europe.
Simmental can also be used for crossbreeding in the dairy production or in beef production. The Simmental breed can be characterized by their adaptability of different climate conditions. Simmental can be used for intensive as well extensive ways of farming.
The Simmental livestock / cattle breed can be characterized by: a strong muscled body structure, colours in gold & white and red & white ( with mainly a white head), high fertility, and their longevity. Simmental livestock / cattle breed have a pigment around the eyes, so that prevents eye problems in regions with extreme sunny weather. Farmers recognize Simmental livestock / cattle breed as easy to handle cattle. The Simmental genetics provide an easy way of calving, without huge complications. Besides that Simmental cattle have short calving interval. That makes a lot of calvings possible.
Simmental livestock / cattle breed might be horned or polled, but that depends on the breeding history. Some farmers do not want to dehorn, because dehorning can bring stress to their herd. So they can choose for dehorned Simmental cattle or Simmental livestock with hornes.
The Simmental breed is suitable for the production of milk and beef. The milk yield is not as high as Holsteins, but Simmentals have the genetics to get more kilograms beef than Holstein. The Simmental livestock / cattle breed has a milk yield between 5000-8000kg per year. The fat 4.2% and protein 3.7% in the milk is high!
Besides dairy, Simmental livestock / cattle breed is good for beef production.
The beef yield from from Simmental livestock / cattle breed is high, with a high ratio of 57.2% meat. The gain of Simmental livestock / cattle is 1.44kg per day. The result of slaughtering Simmental cattle is well-marbled high-quality beef! Simmental female has a weight between the 700-900kg. And a Simmental bull can gain weight till 1300kg.
The Simmental cattle has been exported to many countries in the world. The former Soviet states imported a lot of Simmental cattle / livestock. Different kind of cross breeds were part of the Simmental family:
- Steppe Simmental (Russian cattle × Simmental bulls)
- Ukrainian Simmental (Grey steppe cattle × Simmental bulls)
- Volga Simmental (Central Russian Kalmyk and Kazakh cattle × Simmental bulls)
- Ural Simmental (Siberian and Kazakh cattle × Simmental)
- Siberian Simmental (Siberian and Buryat cattle × Simmental)
- Far Eastern Simmental (Transbaikal and Yakutian cattle × Simmental)
Around 1990, there were 12,5 million Simmental cattle in the Former Soviet Union. It went down to less than 3 million in 2003.