Other common names: Simmentaler
Originating from the Simme River region in Switzerland, Simmental cattle are one of the oldest breeds of cattle in the world. They are most common in Europe and are bred worldwide. They were introduced to the United States in the late 1800s but gained popularity only in the late 1960s.
Fleckvieh cattle are a popular dual purpose breed which were developed from the Simmental in Germany and Austria in the 19th century. The Simmental x Angus cross, called the SimAngus, has resulted in high fertility rates and good quality meat. The Simmental x Brahman cross, known as the Simbrah, has resulted in a hardy breed that thrives even in sparse pastures and harsh climates. The Simmental x Luing Cattle cross is also increasingly popular, and is called the Sim-Luing.
Appearance / health:
Simmentals were traditionally red and white in color but are currently seen in white with yellow, gold, red, and maroon markings or patterns. The face is typically white. Today approximately 80% of the Simmental cattle in the United States are black, with the remaining 20% being red. Most Simmental cattle are solid in coloring. Today it is common for Simmental cattle in North America to be both Homozygous Polled and Homozygous Black.
Like other livestock, cattle require regular vaccinations and inoculations (for example, rabies inoculations) for disease prevention and health management. Similar to other mammals, cows can suffer a variety of ailments and health issues. A veterinarian should be on call and provide regular checkups and monitoring for the entire herd.
Behavior / temperament:
Cattle are docile animals that have strong maternal instincts. They are big and bulky, and could, therefore, inflict harm without intending to. Handling and brushing them constantly while juvenile will help train them to be calm and trusting around humans, which is helpful especially when they need to be attended to by the veterinarian or groomer.
The Simmental’s gentle, quiet, and docile disposition is most favored by cattle owners.
Housing / diet:
Housing for cattle is essentially to give them shelter from extreme weather conditions. Barns, rub-in sheds, stalls, and other structures like windbreaks, should be available where the cows graze. Aside from manmade shelters, trees and tall bushes can provide resting places for cattle to minimize heat stroke or wind chill.
Shelters will give the cows the option to seek safe haven from strong winds, extreme heat or cold, and heavy rains. Shelters should be strong, stable, spacious, well ventilated, and waterproof. Barns should be provided with water supply, and stalls should be lined with hay. They should also be cleaned regularly.
Sprinklers and other cooling systems are recommended for areas that overheat during summer months. Professional and humane fencing should be provided. All poisonous plants should be removed from the pasture; and hay should always be kept dry (wet hay grows molds, becoming a health hazard for cows).
A good quality pasture for grazing is the basic dietary requirement of cattle. The recommended pasture size per cow is 10 acres, without which, the diet should be supplemented with hay. The recommended quantity of hay is an average of 2% of the animal’s body weight per day (or 2 lbs. of hay per 100 lbs. of body weight). Supplements include grain mixes, protein and mineral cubes, and salt blocks, depending on the type of cow, its uses, and the local climate.
Providing a constant supply of fresh water is essential. An adult cow consumes an estimate of up to 20 gallons of water per day.
winter range, calve birth weights, friendliest cattle, good dual purpose, beef
temperamental cattle, milk fever, lower milk production
frame size, largest cows, heavier muscling, great foster mothers, natural musclin
Simmentals, the friendliest cattle I have known
In the UK during the 1980s, the Simmental were one of the 'of the moment' cattle breeds for suckler herds. Originally from Switzerland, they are an all-round breed, good for both milk and meat production.
We first obtained two hand-reared heifers as part of a breeding-up program to produce bulls. They originated from a Simmental x Hereford cross with the hereford bred out. As a result the coats were a little redder than the typical Swiss breed and they were slightly stockier with better definition in the rear quarters. Their offspring would be considered as pure-bred.
I have never come across cattle like them. They had been hand-reared and become accustomed to people. In fact they behaved more like dogs than cows. They would follow you everywhere 'to heel' almost. And if you went into a field near them, next thing you knew they would be by your shoulder gently nudging you to get their ears scratched.
Whenever we went to herd sheep they would be trotting beside us, helping with the herding. I am afraid to say that they became far more pets than farm animals... which was fine, as they were there for breeding.
Overall they are good calvers. There are no problems when mated with a Simmental bull. Even when crossed with larger meat breeds I have only seen a problem in calving once. The cows are good mothers, but not overly aggressive towards people during and after calving, which means that both mother and calf can be approached.
However, they can be prone to mastitis which is something you have to be careful about particularly after the first calf. I have seen quite a few who have lost one quarter of their udders — a consequence of their milk-producing heritage. If you have a small holding then the Simmental would be an ideal general purpose cow, very tame, affectionate to humans and they can be used for milk and meat production..
From DLlE Sep 1 2012 3:31AM
Overall a great value
In my experience, Simmental cows make great mothers. Most of our cows have been protective of their calves, yet not overly aggressive. They usually milk well, with plenty for their offspring. We have shown our cattle off and on over the years and their natural muscling helped them in the showring, although Simmentals with Angus influence in their pedigree tend to be at the top of the class.
We have limited our herd genetics to solid or mostly reds, and the Fleckvieh/fullbloods, which we are particularly fond of. We have found them to be quite docile with excellent growth on a nice, moderate frame. The disadvantage with fullbloods is the tendency for them to be horned, which can be a herd management issue.
With good growth numbers and heavier muscling, one has to be aware of the calving ease issues that can arise. We have had some large calves - a late February 2011 calf weighed in around 130 pounds - but most have been moderate as we do concentrate on using proven calving ease sires so that the herd is not labor intensive. In the summer we like to graze our Simmentals on pasture, and need cows able to calve on their own.
Feed costs can certainly affect the economic efficiency of the breed. Our herd originated in the 1990s, and we have had to be aware of frame size in our breeding selection. We still have a few animals whose frame size is a bit larger than we desire. Yet even our largest cows had sound structure, and we don't experience lameness issues with our cows.
We have also had positive reviews on freezer beef orders that we have filled with our Simmental stock. The average longevity for our cows has been around nine to ten years. We currently have a 13-year-old cow with a calf at her side.
In summary, I would recommend the Simmental breed to any experienced beef breeder, especially if they are looking to introduce different genetics to a British breed-based herd. For first-time beef owners, I would strongly encourage speaking extensively to multiple breeders and AI companies for input on reproduction management. Since the breed has an open herdbook, there are a lot of options with with breed.
From JessAnnSimms Mar 9 2011 8:44PM
What I Remember about "The General"
The General is a Simmental Bull that was born and raised on the family farm. This type of bull, if raised with no human intervention, will act skittish and tend to be very aggressive around humans. There were many times that the General would stare me down whenever it came down to rounding them up and branding the cattle. We did not have any horses or 4 wheelers because we were broke farmers. We had to round them up by feet which can be very dangerous if a bull decides to make a run at you. The market value for the Simmental Bull is very high if you decide to take the bull to the stockyards to sell it.
This is one side of the Simmental Bull if not raises by humans. I have seen the other side of the Simmental Bull if you were to raise on your own. A mother cow abandoned her Simmental calf right after birth. My dad gave me the responsibility of raising the calf until it reached full growth. I did so consciously, feeding the calf everyday until it became a full grown Simmental Bull. My bull was the friendly creature that I have ever raised. He would follow me whether I went on the farm. Even when we transported the cattle to the winter range, my bull would recognize me right off the bat as he would come running up to me. Unfortunately, I had to make the hard decision to sell him at the stockyard.
In my opinion, Simmental Bulls produce really great calves and they sell at a really decent at the stockyards..
From indianz32 Mar 3 2014 12:35AM