SIMMENTAL

Breed History

The Simmental is among the oldest and most widely distributed of all breeds of cattle in the world. Although the first official herdbook was established in the Swiss Canton of Berne in 1806, there is evidence of large, productive "red and white" cattle being found much earlier in ecclesiastical and secular property records of Western Switzerland. Those red and white animals were highly sought because of their "rapid growth development; outstanding production of milk, butter and cheese; and for their use as draught (draft) animals." They were known for their gentle nature, impressive stature and excellent dairy qualities.

As early as 1785, the Swiss Parliament limited exports because of a shortage of cattle to meet their own needs. The Swiss "Red and White Spotted Simmental Cattle Association" was formed in 1890. Since its origin in Switzerland, the breed has spread to all six continents. Total numbers are estimated between 40 and 60 million Simmental cattle worldwide, with more than half in Europe. The worldwide spread was gradual until the late 1960s. Records show that a few animals were exported to Italy as early as the 1400s. During the 19th century, Simmental were distributed through most of Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Russia, ultimately reaching South Africa in 1895. Guatemala imported the first Simmental cattle into the Western Hemisphere in 1897, with Brazil following in 1918 and Argentina in 1922.

There are unsubstantiated reports from a variety of sources indicating Simmental cattle arrived in the United States before the turn of the century. Simmental were reported as early as 1887 in Illinois, according to one source; in 1895 in New Jersey; and in New York and New Mexico around the 1916-1920 period. An ad in an 1896 issue of the Breeder's Gazette, published in Chicago, also made reference to "Simmenthal" cattle. Apparently, those early imports did not capture the imagination of the American cattleman and the Simmental influence died quietly away until they were reintroduced in the late 1960s.

The breed made its most recent appearance in North America when a Canadian, Travers Smith, imported the famed bull "Parisien" from France in 1967. Semen was introduced into the United States that same year, with the first half-blood Simmental calf born at Geyser, MT, in February, 1968. The American Simmental Association was formed in October, 1968. Simmental spread to Britain, Ireland and Norway in 1970 and to Sweden and other Northern European countries shortly thereafter. The first purebred bull was imported into the United States in 1971 and Australia received Simmental semen and live animals in 1972. The World Simmental Federation (WSF) was formed in Zagreb, Yugoslavia in 1974. In 1976, Simmental cattle were shipped to the Republic of China. The purpose of the WSF was to unify Simmental breeders around the world and provide them with a vehicle through which they could exchange research and information and increase the influence and importance of the Simmental breed.

Selection in Europe was initially for three features . . . milk, meat and as draft animals. The demand for working animals is greatly reduced today but muscularity and high milk production are still important to the success of Simmental. The breed is known by a variety of names, including "Fleckvieh" in Germany; "Pie Rouge", "Montbeliarde", and "Abondance" in France; and "Pezzata Rosa" in Italy. The Simmental name is derived from their original location, the Simme Valley of Switzerland. In German, Thal or Tal means valley, thus the name literally means "Simme Valley".

Simmental have a number of important attributes. They are widely distributed throughout the world, implying adaptability to varied environments and management practices. They have continued to thrive over hundreds of years, implying utility, functional efficiency and productivity; and they are second in numbers, only to Brahman, among all breeds worldwide.

The American Simmental Association (ASA) was founded by a contingent of breeders who came from other breed backgrounds and shared a common goal of establishing a breed base on sound, performance principles. Thus, in its 30+ years of existence, ASA has often been in the forefront of beef industry innovation and progress. In 1971, ASA published the first beef breed sire summary, and since that time has: 1) initiated a cow recognition program; 2) developed Simbrah, a heat tolerant, insect-resistant breed combining the genetics of Simmental and Brahman; 3) developed the first multi-breed EPDs; 4) been a leader in incorporating performance data into the show ring; and, 5) more recently, established the industry standard for proving carcass merit. Most other breeds have followed the leadership of ASA. The growth of Simmental cattle in North America is really a reflection of what has already occurred in most agricultural countries of the world. It appears certain that Simmental will continue to play an important role in the future of the American beef producer.

American Simmental Association (2018, August). History of the Simmental Breed. Retrieved from http://www.simmental.org/site/userimages/History%20of%20the%20Simmental%20Breed.pdf

Breed Associations

Name Type State/Province Country Website
Illinois Simmental Association State IL United States http://illinoissimmental.com/
Pennsylvania Simmental Association State PA United States http://www.pasimmental.com/
Nebraska Simmental Association State NE United States http://www.nesimmental.com/
Missouri Simmental Association State MO United States http://www.missourisimmental.com/
Southern New England Simmental Association Regional MA United States http://www.snesa.org/
Wisconsin Simmental Association State WI United States http://breedingcattlepage.com/wiscsimmental/
North Dakota Simmental Association State ND United States http://www.northdakotasimmental.com/
Georgia Simmental - Simbrah Association State GA United States http://georgiasimmental.com/
Virginia Simmental Association State VA United States http://www.virginiasimmental.com/
Indiana Simmental Association State IN United States http://breedingcattlepage.com/INSimmAssoc/index.htm
Colorado Simmental Association State CO United States http://www.coloradosimmental.com/
American Simmental Association National MT United States http://simmental.org/site/index.php
Minnesota Simmental Association State MN United States http://www.mnsimmental.com/
Texas Simmental - Simbrah Association State TX United States https://texassimmentalsimbrah.com/
New York Simmental Association State NY United States http://www.newyorksimmental.com/
Oklahoma Simmental - Simbrah Association State OK United States http://www.oklahomasimmental.com/
North Carolina Simmental Association State NC United States http://www.ncsimmental.com/
Alabama Simmental Association State AL United States http://alabamasimmental.com/index.html
Kentucky Simmental - Simbrah Association State KY United States http://kysimmental.com/
Tennessee Simmental - Simbrah Association State TN United States http://tnsimmental.org/
Florida Simmental - Simbrah Association State FL United States https://www.floridasimmentalassociation.com/
Louisiana Simmental - Simbrah Association State LA United States http://www.lasimmentalsimbrah.com/home.html
Iowa Simmental Association State IA United States http://breedingcattlepage.com/Simmental/iasimmassoc/
Ohio Simmental Association State OH United States http://www.ohiosimmental.com/
Washington Simmental Association State WA United States http://www.washingtonsimmental.com/
South Dakota Simmental Association State SD United States http://www.southdakotasimmental.com/
Kansas Simmental Association State KS United States http://www.kansas-simmental.com/

Breed EPDs

All-Purpose Index (API)

Dollars per cow exposed under an all-purpose-sire scenario. Evaluates sires for use on the entire cow herd (bred to both Angus first-calf heifers and mature cows) with the portion of their daughters required to maintain herd size retained and the remaining heifers and steers put on feed and sold grade and yield.

Average Daily Gain (ADG)

The difference in pounds of daily gain expected between animals progeny during a defined post-weaning feeding period. Difference in average daily weight gain of an animals progeny during a defined feeding period as compared to other animals in the breed. Measured in pounds.

Back Fat (BF)

The adjusted twelfth rib fat thickness of a sires progeny, expressed in inches. Predicted differences of fat thickness, in inches, for a carcass over the 12th rib, smaller numbers of fat thickness are preferable as excess fat can be detrimental to yield drade.

Birth Weight (BW)

Difference in birth weights of a bulls progeny when compared to the breed average. Measured in pounds. Birth Weight EPD predicts the difference in average birth weight of a bulls calves compared to calves of another bull. Reported in pounds, a lower number is desirable.

Calving Ease (CE)

Percent of unassisted births when used on heifers. Calving Ease, or Calving Ease Direct is the difference in percentage of unassisted births when a sire is bred to first calf heifers. A higher number is desirable.

Carcass Weight (CW)

Difference in poulds of hot carcass weight, adjusted to an industry standard age endpoint This EPD predicts the difference in hot carcass weight of a bulls progeny compared to progeny of all other bulls evaluated at a given endpoint. Reported in pounds, a higher number is generally desirable. Hot carcass weight is the weight of the animal immediately after slaughter. To calculate how much meat you will receive, use this equation: Live weight x dressing percentage x carcass cutting yield = pounds of meat. 280 x (0.72 x 0.74) = 280 x 53% = 148 pounds of meat.

Docility (DOC)

The difference in yearling cattle temperament, with a higher value indicating more favorable docility.

Marbling (MRB)

A predictor of the difference in a sires progeny for percent marbling score or percent intramuscular fat in the ribeye muscle compared to other sires. This EPD predicts the difference in average USDA marbling score of a bulls progeny compared to progeny of another bull at a similar end point. Reported in degrees of a marbling score, higher values are desirable. In a similar fashion, EPDs generated from ultrasound scan data reflect differences in chemical fat content within the ribeye muscle (intramuscular fat). Research has shown a strong relationship between marbling score and % intramuscular fat. Therefore, selection for higher % intramuscular fat EPDs would be expected to increase marbling scores and associated quality grade in slaughter progeny.

Maternal Calving Ease (MCE)

Percent of unassisted births in first-calving daughters. Maternal Calving Ease, or Calving Ease Maternal is expressed as the difference in percentage of unassisted births of a sires daughters as first-calf heifers when compared to daughters of other sires. Reported as a percentage, a higher value is desirable.

Maternal Weaning Weight (MWW)

Pounds of weaning weight due to milk and growth. This EPD predicts the Weaning Weight of a bulls daughters progeny and reflects both the milking ability of a bulls daughters and the growth potential of their calves. Reported in pounds, higher numbers are generally desirable.

Milk (MLK)

Pounds of weaning weight due to milk. The milk EPD predicts the difference in average 205-day weight of a bulls daughters calves compared to the calves from daughters of another bull. Reported in pounds. The amount of pre-weaning performance gained by calves which can be attributed to the milking ability of a bulls daughters depends heavily upon the nutritional environment of the herd.

Ribeye Area (REA)

Differences in ribeye area in inches between the 12th and 13th rib. Greater ribeye areas are preferable. This EPD predicts the difference in ribeye area of a bulls progeny compared to the progeny of another bull and is an indicator of total muscle in the carcass. Reported in square inches, larger numbers are generally desirable.

Shear Force (SHR)

Pounds of force required to shear a steak. Sometimes referred to as SF or WBSF (Warner-Bratzler Shear Force)

Stayability (STAY)

Percent of daughters predicted to be remaining in the cowherd at 6 years of age. The stayability EPD predicts the probability of a bulls daughters staying in production to at least six years of age compared to daughters of another bull. Reported as a percentage, a higher value is desirable. The stayability EPD is one of the best measures currently available to compare a bulls ability to produce females with reproductive longevity.

Terminal Index (TI)

Dollars per cow exposed under a terminal-sire scenario. Evaluates sire for use on mature Angus cows with all offspring put on feed and sold grade and yield.

Weaning Weight (WW)

Difference in weaning weight of a bulls progeny when compared to the breed average. Measured in pounds. Weaning Weight EPD predicts the difference in average 205-day weight of a bulls progeny compared to calves of another bull. Reported in pounds, a higher number is desirable.

Yearling Weight (YW)

Difference in yearling weight of a bulls progeny when compared to the breed average. Measured in pounds. Yearling Weight EPD predicts the difference in average 365-day weight of a bulls progeny compared to progeny of another bull. Reported in pounds, a higher number is generally desirable.

Yield Grade (YG)

Differences in USDA Yield Grade, expressed as a deviation of Yield Grade units where negative values are desirable. This EPD predicts differences in USDA Yield Grade of a bulls progeny compared to progeny of another bull. Reported in tenths of a USDA YG, lower numbers are desirable.