History of the Simmental and SimAngus Breeds
The Simmental is among the oldest and most widely distributed of all breeds of cattle in the world. With records dating back as early as 1806, these animals were highly sought after due to their rapid growth, outstanding production of milk, gentle nature and use as a draft animal. 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.
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. However, this worldwide spread was gradual until the late 1960’s. The breed made its most recent appearance in North America in 1967, when Canadian Travers Smith imported the famed bull “Parisien” from France. Semen was introduced into the United States in that same year, with the first half-blood Simmental calf born in Geyser, MT in February, 1968. The breed then spread to Britain, Ireland, and Norway in 1970, Australia in 1972 and to Sweden and other Northern European countries shortly thereafter. Today, they are second in numbers, only to Brahman, among all breeds worldwide.
The American Simmental Association was formed in October 1968 and the first purebred bull was imported into the United States in 1971. The World Simmental Federation (WSF) was formed in Zagreb, Yugoslavia in 1974, with the purpose of unifying Simmental breeders around the world and to provide them with a vehicle through which they could exchange research and information and increase the influence and importance of the Simmental breed.
Over time, Europe’s countries have specialized in the development of particular strains and traits of Simmental. A great deal of pride is associated with the product that has been developed by each country. Only in America has there been an opportunity for an expansive “within-breed blending” to take place. The result has been greater performance and productivity because only the best cattle coming from the various countries have been utilized in the composition of the superior American Simmental. The resulting product is capable of expressing the superior traits from all European strains, providing for even greater flexibility and opportunities for innovative and creative cattle breeders. These cattle have the bred-in ability to adapt to hot and cold temperatures, to dry or humid climates, as well as range conditions or confinement rearing.
The SimAngus breed was developed in the late 20th century in response to demand for a crossbred animal combining the superior qualities of both the Simmental and Angus or Red Angus breeds. This cross has proven very popular as a means of producing cattle with high performance and high market acceptance levels. The SimAngus breed combines the best traits of both parent breeds; superior weight gain, muscling, meat yield and maternal traits of the Simmental with the meat quality, polled and solid coat color attributes of the Angus. A registered SimAngus animal comprises between 1/8 to 7/8 Simmental and 1/8 to 7/8 Angus or Red Angus. This wide range of alternatives allows cattleman to choose the percentage breed mix to suit their own needs as well as those of the markets they supply.
In addition, the SimAngus breed features females that are maternal with high calving ease. These females exhibit excellent fertility and milking ability. Their calves are high in growth and finish with an ideal fattening pattern. They are known for their excellent carcass quality, high meat yield, as well as meat quality. They are very docile and easy to work with on any operations. SimAngus are able to finish well in the pasture or in the feedlot. Selected seedstock representing the very highest value genetics both in their Simmental pedigrees and their Angus or Red Angus lineage have the potential to be the most valuable genetic package available to the beef industry today.
According to data from the USDA’s Meat Animal Research Center Report 22, SimAngus progeny ranked first in calving ease, weaning weight, percent choice, carcass weight, pounds post gain, feed efficiency by weight gain, percent puberty, maternal calving ease, and feed efficiency by marbling over all other continental breeds. In the same report, they also ranked first in calving ease, weaning weight, carcass weight, post wean gain, pounds of real product, shear force and feed efficiency by marbling and maternal weaning weight over all British breeds. The SimAngus breed is genetically engineered toward efficient, economical production of tender, lean, palatable beef – the product in demand by consumers today.