In the run up to the February 2024 Stirling Simmental Bull Sale please see here a feature on the Denizes Herd of Michael & John Barlow, Nr Leyland, Lancashire who have a team of five bulls entered. The feature was first published in the Scottish Farmer and is...


by | Feb 12, 2024


Analysis of AHDB’s National Beef Evaluation (NBE) data (December) has shown that Simmental sired progeny have a superior Daily Carcase Gain in comparison to Continental sired, and Native sired progeny. 

This latest analysis is in addition to the first release in October 2023, which showed that Simmental sired calves finished on average over five weeks earlier than those by all Continental sires, with these calves costing on average over £70 less to finish, and resulting in significantly reduced CO2 emissions. Furthermore, Continental sired calves out of Simmental dams finished over four weeks earlier than the average of all suckler dams. With regards to maternal traits, the average genetic merit for Simmentals is also shown as higher than the average for all Continental breeds.  

The average Daily Carcase Gain is the average growth rate across the lifetime of the animal – carcase weight per day to slaughter. 

Figure 1 shows that the average Daily Carcase Gain (DCG) of the progeny of a Simmental bull out of All Dams is 4.6% better than the DCG of the progeny of a Continental Sire out of All Dams, and 17.5% better than the DCG of the progeny of a Native Sire out of All Dams.

The ‘ultimate combination’ for Daily Carcase Gain is shown as the progeny of a Simmental bull out of a Simmental dam.  Emphasising the strength of the Simmental breeds maternal qualities, the highest rates of Daily Carcase Gain are attained by both Continental and Natives sires for progeny out of Simmental dams.

The NBE dataset is collated nationally from BCMS, as well as many of the UK’s largest processors and abattoirs to develop a database that includes records from over three million animals slaughtered in the last 10 years. This huge dataset is enabling AHDB to estimate the genetic merit of beef cattle, including over 500,000 sires, for days to slaughter, carcase weight and EUROP scores.

The data again shows that Simmentals rank highly amongst Continental breeds for this trait, age at slaughter, (December 2023) and have on average, a leading genetic merit for reducing days to slaughter. The actual performance data of Simmental bred offspring translates to actual performance as follows. See Fig 2.

  • Simmental sired calves finish on average 37 days earlier than those by Continental sires and 46 days earlier than calves by native sires.
  • Simmental sired calves will cost on average, £74 less to finish than the average of all Continental sired calves, assuming £2 per day finishing cost.
  • Simmental sired animals, finishing 37 days earlier, will on average produce 5.6kg less CO2 equivalents based on UK Government’s estimate the average animal produces 151g of CO2 equivalents per day.

Commenting BSCS President Norman Robson said:  “These Simmental advantages are massive and really add up to money for commercial producers.  If you’re finishing 100 cattle then by using Simmental genetics its reducing your number of days feeding by 3700 to 4600, that’s £7400 to £9200 assuming a conservative £2 per day finishing cost!  Similarly it’s a reduction of 592kgs to 696kgs less CO2 emissions meaning real environmental sense for retailers and society.”

It’s important to remember that a bull only provides half of the genetics inherited by a calf. The other half comes from the dam. Again, Simmental bred calves are shown as the most efficient.

  • Calves out of Simmental dams and by Continental sires finish on average 47 days earlier than the average of all dams, showing that choosing Simmental cows is another great strategy to reduce finishing costs.
  • In every example given in Fig 2 calves out of Simmental dams finish significantly earlier than calves out of All Dams, and Suckler Dams.
  • Again, the ‘ultimate’ combination for age at slaughter can be seen as progeny sired by a Simmental bull and out of a Simmental dam at 633 days.


A great way to further leverage this Simmental advantage is to select your sire according to his EBV.

using a Simmental sire in the top 10% for days to slaughter, Simmental sired calves finish on average 45 days earlier than those by Continental sires and 54 days earlier than calves by native sires.

Commenting further BSCS President, Norman Robson said: “We’ve been promoting Simmental as a hard-working, no nonsense beef breed that gives you more.  These claims have been qualified by the analysis of AHDB’s National Beef Evaluations which are based on a vast amount of indisputable data unique to the sector.

 “With input price pressures continuing to escalate, there is going to be a real premium on efficiency.  Simmentals are showing here, in data over a 10-year period, that they are a future proofed beef breed fir for the modern industry. The data shows the Simmental advantages in Daily Carcase Gain; age at slaughter whether sired by a Simmental or out of a Simmental dam;  and a significant reduction in finishing costs, with lower emissions meeting environmental challenges.

“The data cumulatively highlights the added value performance that can be achieved from both carcase and maternal traits when Simmental genetics are introduced to the herd. In turn, they’re the main contributors to efficiency and subsequently profit, absolutely essential going forward for a sustainable enterprise.”

  • To breed animals that best suit your farming system, AHDB recommends its National Beef Evaluation EBVs should be considered in conjunction with EBVs from your performance recording organization.

To find out more and look up your animals in AHDB’s National Beef Evaluations, visit