Simmentals the Continental Breed of Choice in Canada

Simmentals the Continental Breed of Choice in Canada




A commitment to genetic improvement and a focus on Calving ease, carcass traits and fertility, has seen Simmental become the continental breed of choice in Canada. Here Bruce Holmquist, the Canadian Simmental Association’s General manager, and a past President of the World Simmental Fleckvieh federation, gives us a terrific overview of the breed’s challenges and development to the present day.

It is an honour to have been asked to contribute my thoughts on the Simmental breed as part of this publication which marks the milestone of 50 years of Simmental in the United Kingdom, and the formation of the British Simmental Cattle Society. I was fortunate to visit the United Kingdom in 2008 as part of the World Simmental Fleckvieh Federation (WSFF) Congress that toured England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Great hospitality was enjoyed throughout the event and it was especially memorable for me as that was the year I began my four year term as President of the WSFF. Great times in a world that was much different than we are unfortunately experiencing today. It would be great if Simmental breeders in the United Kingdom would consider hosting the WSFF Congress again at some point in time.

When contacted to do this article it was suggested that I provide an overview of Simmental in Canada and where it currently sits in its development and position within the Canadian beef industry. In order to better understand the status of Simmental in Canada, we need to revisit where Simmental has come from and recognize both the challenges we faced over the last 53 years, as well as our current success. To do that properly we need to go back to 1967 when SBL Parisien 1A was imported to Canada, becoming the first Simmental bull to set foot on the North American continent. From that moment on it was apparent the Simmental breed was destined to change and improve the beef industry in North America. The “belt buckle” tall cattle of the 1960’s were in desperate need of change and the timing was right for the infusion of Simmental genetics.

Although not fully understood at the time – heterosis manifested itself as the only thing that is truly free in beef production. Increased performance combined with superior maternal traits was thought to be an impossible combination, however Simmental was able to provide both. Later Canadian Simmental breeders became victim to the mindset that if something is good, then more of it must be even better. For some breeders, performance became a fixation and with that we saw a remarkable increase in mature frame size along with higher maintenance requirements. Many breeds of cattle went through a ‘bigger is better’ phase, especially in frame, and Simmental was no exception.

Through the 1980’s many of the Simmental cattle in North America were of a type that had questionable economic value for the beef industry. Simmental breeders in both Canada and the USA countries had joined others in the purebred industry in producing cattle that fit a model of refinement and extremes that the show-ring favored. This left commercial cattle producers scratching their heads about the direction that the purebred sector had headed and Simmental ended up on the feedlots “do not buy list”. Things had to change, and that they did!

The road back to practicality was not a successful path for all breeds in North America and there was a reshuffling of the ranking of popularity amongst them. Some breeds that had enjoyed initial

success after their importation during the “exotic boom” were pushed aside by breeds that changed more quickly and adapted to the North American beef industries evolving needs. Optimum performance became the goal replacing maximum gain; extreme frame was moderated and soundness of feet and legs along with overall structure was dramatically improved. Not surprisingly we also discovered that consumers expected a quality eating experience and on many occasions were disappointed with beef that was too lean. Carcass quality and tenderness traits became extremely important and the Simmental breed was among the breeds that lead the way in improving those qualities.

“Calving ease, carcass traits and fertility in a balanced performance package became the focus and Simmental has since grown in popularity to where we have become the continental breed of choice…”

How did Simmental make those changes quicker than some other breeds? It began with the recognition of the need for change. As a breed we were very fortunate that there were breeders that had not followed the path that many chose and quietly kept doing what they believed in; producing the type of cattle that made them money and were sought after by their commercial customers. The cattle they produced became the genetics that put us back on track.

The American and Canadian Simmental Associations also had boards of directors that focused on the implementation of programming and data collection programs which provided the data base for development of the genetic improvement tools for their members to use, and then worked diligently in promoting and educating those members on their use. Calving ease, carcass traits and fertility in a balanced performance package became the focus and Simmental has since grown in popularity to where we have become the continental breed of choice and is solidly number the number two breed in Canada based on registrations behind Angus. The elimination of the diluter gene through genetic selection also played an important role in making Simmental more acceptable in Angus commercial herds.

Some figures pertaining to the Canadian Simmental Association:

  • Simmental is the second most popular beef breed in Canada registering approximately 23,000 animals each year from a cowherd of approximately 40,000 Simmental females
  • Simmental is very complimentary to both Angus and Hereford cattle in cross-breeding programs which has driven much of the Simmental breed’s success
  • There are 1880 active members of the Canadian Simmental Association which includes 350 Junior members in our Young Canadian Simmental program aged 6-25 years old 
  • The CSA registry system incorporates phenotypes, pedigree and performance data along with genomic data into genomically enhanced EPDs as part of our relationship with International Genetic Solutions (IGS)
  • The CSA and American Simmental Association work together on a combined North American genetic evaluation.
  • The CSA registry system is comprised of Fullblood, Purebred and Percentage animals. At the present time our registrations are approximately 71% Purebred (red and black), 20% Fullblood (traditional), and 9% Percentage (3/4 Simmental blood or less)

A large part of the success and growth of Simmental in Canada can be attributed to the breeders and the CSA understanding that the Association must serve its membership and more importantly their customers in a practical and efficient manner. This has been accomplished by remaining committed to genetic improvement for the beef industry, combined with breed promotion, along with a strong focus on youth development. We invite you to learn more about Simmental in Canada by viewing our magazine online at, and CSA programming through our website

Congratulations to the British Simmental Cattle Society on your 50th Anniversary and wishing you much success as you continue to work towards the expansion and improvement of the Simmental breed around the world!

Snapshot Profile of Dansk Simmental and the Breed in Denmark

Snapshot Profile of Dansk Simmental and the Breed in Denmark



Thank you very much to Simmental breeder, and Dansk Simmental Board Member, Henning Hansen who has kindly supplied the following overview of the breed and Society in Denmark. Henning is a well-known breeder to British Simmental visitors to Denmark and earlier this year also acted as a judge for one of the BSCS’s Virtual Show classes.

In Denmark we have just about 3500 pedigree Simmental cows. This makes Simmental the second beef breed in the country closely followed by Hereford, and quite a bit behind the largest breed which is Limousine with about 7500 cows.

Simmental is very popular for crossbreeding, so if we count the cows with minimum 50 % Simmental blood, we are about 7500. The pedigree cows are spread in about 900 herds, meaning an average number of cows as small as 3.9 per herd. In many herds you would see a few pedigree animals and the rest would be crossbred.

The total number of suckler cows in Denmark is close to 90,000, averaging to just about 15 cows per herd. There are very few farms where sucklers would be the main income.  This is due to the fact that most of our country is arable land, and grass land is only existing

in small spots.  In full time farming, the sucklers would normally be second or third, to milk or pork production, or to arable crops.

A big part of our sucklers stand in part-time, or hobby farms, where the main income is brought home from outside jobs. That is why many of our breeders are known as the dentist, the baker, the vicar etc.  This structure, which I believe is unlike most other countries, also has a large impact on the strategy for breeding and keeping cattle.

AI is very popular in Denmark, and more than half of the Simmental calves born are results of AI. We have a long tradition for using AI on dairy cattle and when the beef breeds arrived to Denmark in the 1960 -70 years, most of them were settled in with people who were used to the AI concept. So it was an easy way to go and it actually made a lot of sense as, in our small herds, the costs of buying and keeping a high quality bull will exceed the value he adds to the herd. Using AI gives access for everybody to use national and international top genetics. A slogan for one of our AI cooperatives was: “The best bulls you find in the deep freeze”!

Fifty years ago we had numerous of these cattle breeding associations, but now they have all merged into one members owned company covering the whole country: VikingDenmark. Together with similar organisations in Sweden and Finland, VikingDenmark owns and runs VikingGenetics. The task of VikingGenetics is general development of everything related to reproduction, and to select bulls and produce semen doses.  VikingDenmark takes care of the practical AI service and the close contact of the customers – who are also the owners. Denmark is a small country, so the distances between our 200 AI technicians are not long. Traditionally the Viking system and the Beef breeding societies have been able to cooperate in a very good way. This means that the selection of AI bulls for pure breeding is handled by the respective breeding society.

As a result of this structure we produce a lot more good bull calves than we need for reproduction, and therefore the price for young bulls is probably the lowest in Europe. We do not have auction sales of breeding cattle at all, with everything being sold directly from farm to farm.

Unfortunately we also have low prices when it comes to selling our beef. A year ago there was a positive trend in prices, so we thought they would rise to a decent level. But then came Covid 19 and stopped all the celebrations and parties where you would normally serve a good beef roast, and restaurants, where a lot of beef steaks would normally have been consumed, were closed down.  Actual carcass price medio November is £2,89 for top quality young bull or heifer and £2,65 for top quality cow. Almost all animals for slaughter are paid for according to weight and EUROP classification of carcass. The prices I mention here are for best weight group and carcass class 12.

This low price, which we have had for too long now, combined with the fact that average age of beef farmers is quite high, will probably cause a major decrease in the number of suckler cows over the next few years. For many of us it’s a hobby, but even beloved hobbies can become too expensive.

The Danish Simmental Society – Dansk Simmental – already registers the decreasing number of breeders, as our members list now holds only 170 names. When it peaked, we came close to 400. The problem is not only that people grow older – we expected that – but after the worldwide financial crisis it has been very difficult for young people to finance the purchase of a small farm and establish their own herds. I do believe that if that were easier, we would still have enough new members coming in to replace the elderly going out.

One of our Society’s main tasks has always been to make sure that there is sufficient high-quality semen available to our members. To take care of that we have a four-person committee, which keeps an eye on figures and animals and come up with suggestions to the main board of the Society, as to which bull to take for AI or which semen to import. As a Society we act with quite a conservative attitude and take in only well proven genetics.  Our philosophy is to not gamble with other people’s (our members’ ) money.  Until a few years ago our performance test station was the key thing in the selection of new bulls. But the running of this became too expensive, so now we look at the figures of working herd bulls. When we find one with good figures, we go out and look at the bull and progeny. This means that nowadays we actually select one proven bull for AI instead of five or six young bulls for test inseminations.

“Temperament, easy calving, polled, growth, and carcase classification – the most important traits for Danish Simmental breeders..”

The things we look for in our next AI bulls are easy calving, growth, good legs and feet and good carcass classification. When we ask our breeders what they find most important, we mostly hear – and  mostly in this ranking: Temperament, easy calving, polled, good growth, and good classification of carcass. Only very few talk about leg quality, but I take it that good legs is seen as a presumption. One thing that is often discussed among breeders is the size of our animals. When we have foreign guests coming to buy animals, they often say that our animals are too big – and then they buy the biggest one they can find.

Showing is to many of our members a big part of having Simmentals. We have quite a few local shows, but the most interesting one is absolutely The National Show in Herning at the beginning of July. Here we have normally 60-70 animals in the ring, and in special years we have had more than 100.  In any case it is worth a visit, when and if the world comes back to normal!

I would like to offer my best congratulations on your Society’s anniversary in 2020!

In Denmark we highly respect the way you have developed the breed since your first imports, and some of your breeding has had a large and persistent impact on ours.

I hope you will be able to celebrate in a proper way in 2021, and if the world is free – and the borders are still open for EU citizens – I hope to join your celebrations with a contingent of Danish breeders

Making a Significant Genentic Contribution to the US Beef Industry

Making a Significant Genentic Contribution to the US Beef Industry




Giving a report on the work of the American Simmental Association (ASA), and the Simmental breed in the USA, we are delighted to have Fred Schuetze, ASA Trustee and President of the World Simmental Fleckvieh Federation, as a contributor in this year’s Review.

First, I would like to congratulate the British Simmental Society, for reaching the 50th year milestone of servicing the Simmental breed and its breeders. It is an accomplishment only reached by a few and you and your breeder members must be proud.

The American Simmental Association (ASA) reached this goal in 2018 and its success is directly related to the acceptance of Simmental and their crosses by the commercial industry in the US. Our history, as with most continental breeds, started when the commercial industry was struggling with

cattle that had very little growth and the cost of production was becoming too extreme to maintain. Everyone was looking for the ‘silver bullet’ to save the industry from the ‘belt buckle cattle’, as they were called.

The success of the American Simmental Association has to be credited to the founding fathers, which is true for all Societies that have survived.  Each, has to determine what the Society’s role is to make the cattle sustainable, which in turn makes their membership successful.

In the 1950’s, performance testing was taking hold of the beef cattle industry but it was not till 1968 that the Beef Improvement Federation was formed to set the standards for this new form of producing livestock in the US versus the show ring for selection. Even though the first Simmentals were imported to the US in 1886 & 1887; the importation of Parisien in 1966 making semen available to the US, opened the doors for performance minded breeders to start the use of Simmental genetics in the US. This was done through artificial insemination of all breeds to produce the first ½ bloods which increased weaning weights by over 100 pounds and the race was on, with the formation of the ASA, based on performance testing, as dictated by the founding fathers.

The ASA has taken a different approach, compared to many other associations, as to how they effectively have developed programs to meet the needs of the beef industry in the US. Along with maintaining pedigree and performance data for the membership, there has been the development of the first genetic evaluation that incorporated other breeds to the current single step system that uses DNA to help increase accuracies. The thought of cooperation with other breeds has led to the world’s largest beef data base of over 16,000,000 records. The IGS (International Genetic Solutions) system has allowed a collaboration of records and breeds that have increased the accuracies of the total genetic evaluation for a vast majority of the beef cattle industry not only in the US but with records from Canada and Australia. The ultimate goal is to better serve both the purebred and the commercial industry around the world, which is our final customers in the purebred business besides the end user the consuming public.

The ASA has 7,322 active membership, of which 4,536 are adult members and 2,786 are junior members. The 7,322 have registered 71,981 during the year ending June 30, 2020. As of August 2020; the ASA database is comprised of just under 6 million animals making up 37.5% of the total IGS data base.

The ASA registers animals with varying genetic bases that includes Fullbloods that have a straight Simmental pedigree; Purebreds that are 7/8’s Simmental; SimAngus that can range from ¼ Simmental to ¾ Simmental; and Simbrah from the Purebreds that are 5/8 Simmental, 3/8 Brahman along with the percentages of

¾ Simmental, ¼ Brahman, Simmental ½ Brahman and vise versa, to SimAngus HT’s that carry a percentage of Brahman for heat tolerance.

“The popularity of the Simmental breed, across the commercial industry which drives the pedigree industry, is because of the genetic trends and the ability of the association to put programs in place that affect the bottom line of the producers.”

The Simmental breed, depending on who you ask, ranks 3rd in the overall population in beef cattle in the US and is by far the largest of all the continental breeds that were imported in the late 1960’s. The popularity of the Simmental breed, across the commercial industry which drives the pedigree industry, is because of the genetic trends and the ability of the association to put programs in place that affect the bottom line of the producers. Programs such as:  the collaboration with other breed associations in IGS which produces multibreed genetic evaluations, the only one to do so;

carcass merit programs to enhance carcass quality; a commitment of $700,000.00 (approx £516,000) over a 5 year period to expand carcass data; the ability to register and track percentage Simmental cattle;  a tremendous junior program, 2786 members strong which not only focuses on the show ring but on leadership development and genetic evaluation; total herd reporting that produces 75% to 80% of all the data with meaningful contemporary grouping, and finally a board of trustees and staff that work tirelessly on keeping SIMMENTAL in the drivers seat.

Another great asset is the ability to do 100% of the breeders’ work online with the most advanced computer program in the industry. The last strength of Simmental in the US, as well as around the world, is there ability to adapt to different climatic conditions and management practices.  As I stated earlier, the success of a breed is due to its acceptability in the commercial industry and this is accomplished by producing cattle that meet the needs of the commercial industry. The success of the Simmental breed in the US can be directly attributed to the two graphs that I have attached: MATERNAL TRAIT GENETIC TRENDS and TERMINAL TRAIT GENETIC TRENDS. I believe the graphs are, self- explanatory, as to why the Simmental breed is so successful in the US along with other countries involved in IGS, which is just a DBA for the American Simmental Association. In general the graphs show that within the Simmental gene pool there is both maternal and terminal genetics and these have been blended so that both are available in one breed.

and $1.05 per pond for heifers weighting 600 pounds. Fat cattle ready for harvest are selling for $1.05 per pound with variation from area to area. Simmental bulls for the commercial industry are averaging about $5,000.00 (£3,700) per head and stud bulls range from $10,000.00 (£7,400) to $100,000.00 (£73,700) per head.

In summary, I would have to say that Simmental are in a terrific position in the US; demand by the commercial industry is high and growing and as this trend continues so will the seedstock industry.

In closing, as president of the World Simmental Fleckvieh Federation and current trustee for the American Simmental Association, I congratulate the British Simmental Society on reaching the 50th anniversary of existence and wish you much success in the future along with thanks for inviting me to author this article for your society.

The Breed For Profit In Ireland

The Breed For Profit In Ireland



Being our closest neighbouring herdbook, and with a good degree of genetic connectivity, we are delighted to include an article from the Irish Simmental Cattle Society. Here the Society’s COM, Peadar Glennon gives an overview of the National herd, and where the Simmental breed fits in, and outlines the breed’s ongoing progress in genetic trends over a ten-year-period.

Simmental in Ireland
Firstly, congratulations to the UK Simmental Society on reaching its 50th Anniversary. Being the custodian of the herdbook is a vital role and one which should never be underestimated. In Ireland, we are running a year behind as the first Simmental were imported in 1971. When the current restrictions pass, we will have to plan later this year as to how best we will mark our 50th milestone with events.

Breed Strategy
In 2000 the then Council of the Irish Simmental Society developed a clear Breed Strategy focused on developing further the beefing characteristics of the breed, the clear purpose being to position Simmental competitively with other continental breeds. This coupled with maintaining the superior maternal advantages of the breed ensured a market and identity for Simmental cattle.

The National Herd
The makeup of the National Herd has seen a seismic shift to dairying since the abolition of the milk quotas in 2015. (See table on right) This has greatly increased the challenges facing beef breeds as both markets are opposites in terms of stockbull requirements.

YearDairy CowsChangeBeef CowsChange




































Simmental in the Commercial Herd
Simmental sired calves in the National herd has remained consistent over the past 10 years at 7% while 11% of the cow type is Simmental. In terms of system profitability, young bulls are consistently leaving the highest margins and Simmental are recorded as one of the highest performers in this section. The table below taken from results from performance recording of young bulls at Tully Test Station highlights this performance.

Sire BreedPre-Trial ADGOn-Trial ADGTOTAL_ADGCarcass Weight DGFeed EfficiencyTerminal Index

A.I. Usage in the Suckler Herd
On average there are 10% of the Suckler cows served to A.I. annually and Simmental accounts for 7% of this market. See table below for the most used Simmental bulls in 2019.

Most Popular A.I. Sires in the Suckler Herd


The Pedigree Herd
The following is a snapshot of the Pedigree Simmental Herd in terms of numbers:

  • 2300 Pedigree calves registered in 2019
  • Ranking 5th in terms of Breed Registrations
  • 65% of Pedigree calves born in 2019 were sired by an A.I. Sire
  • 32% of 2019 Pedigree Registered calves where sired by the 10 most popular A.I. Sires down from 37% in 2018
  • 5% of Pedigree calves born in 2019 were ET calves

Simmental Sales
The Society Sales are centred around our Premier Sales which take place at Roscommon each March & October. The sales have developed on the concept that the best animals are routinely put forward for sale.  As recently as last October, our Roscommon Sale recorded a new interbreed record price when the Behan’s Clonagh Lucky Explorer was knocked down at €52,000.  Best of luck to the Wood Family, Lancashire with their purchase and I’m sure in years to come we will see this bull put his stamp on the Simmental breed.

Online Sales
The restrictions imposed because of the Coronavirus has resulted in Livestock Marts putting in place an on-line facility for selling. In fact, our Premier sale last October was 100% on-line and worked well with very high averages and clearance rates recorded. In future it is expected that all sales will incorporate a blend of ringside and on-line activity. This will allow potential customers far greater freedom in terms of pre-sale livestock viewing and following day sale activity.

Ireland has over the past number of years, following the breed strategy put in place in 2000, emerged as a key source for Simmental breeding stock throughout Europe where the focus is on beef production. This market is twofold and encompasses live exports as well as frozen semen and embryos. The quality and easy fleshing ability of the Irish Simmental are key elements in the establishment of these markets. The last four years has seen a lot of activity in the Turkish market for semen and Pedigree Bulls to Italy for follow-on semen sales to both Turkey and China.  These markets are looking for superior beefing qualities and distinctive colour markings.

Ireland / UK Collaboration
Down through the years there has always been a strong cooperation between both Societies and breeders with the common goal being the betterment and advancement of the breed aided by the sharing of bloodlines. Some cows that certainly left a positive impact on our breed include Star Fanny & Anatrim Kay while Camus Solitaire moving in the other direction will forever be remembered. When reflecting on bulls who have left their imprint on both herdbooks, the names of Richardstown Jumbo, Hillcrest Champion, Raceview King, Sacombe Wishful Thinking, Carnkern Titan & Rosten Barney spring to mind as such. In recent years we have seen animals exported in each direction having had a massive impact on the Show circuit with Auroch Eve & Banwy T-Rex two deserving special mention.

Simmental Stockpeople
It was stockpeople with vision and a desire to succeed that painstakingly researched and sourced new genetics to take our great breed to where it is today. Recent agricultural policy encompassing a greater emphasis on evaluations, where it is envisaged that a mobile phone can decide mating decisions is worrying and must be resisted where necessary. Evaluations are welcomed but only as another tool to assist in breeding decisions. Stockpeople will hopefully always play a key role in searching for and breeding the next generation of Simmental Cattle to benefit all Simmental enthusiasts.

Central Database
The Irish Simmental Society signed up to the concept of a central all breed database, from which our evaluation system is ran, in 2002. In theory this should deliver near perfect evaluations, which is correct for certain traits, but other traits should be within breed.

In 2012 the Irish Simmental Society, together with all other breeds, made the decision to move to SNP DNA testing to pave the way for the issuing of Genomic evaluations. After four years of building up a training population which included the testing of all A.I. bulls past & present, the first Genomic evaluations were launched. One of the main advantages of the SNP system is its ability to predict parentage when ran against the DNA database. Also, of interest is the ability to carry out other add-on tests such as Polledness at the point of testing.

Performance Recording

BreedSamplesStart AgeSlaughter AgeInitial WeightFinal Live WeightCarcass WeightAvg Grade
Sire BreedSamplesStart AgeSlaughter AgeInitial WeightFinal Live WeightCarcass WeightAvg Grade

Genetic Trends
The Simmental breed has seen steady increases in Genetic Trends since the establishment of ICBF. The graph below illustrates the increases in the Replacement index for Simmental compared to other breeds between 2007 & 2018.

In 2015 coinciding with the increase in dairying, we saw a renewed interest in Fleckvieh cows with farmers looking for cows with improved milk solids and fertility. This increased interest resulted in many farmers switching to Fleckvieh with both the number of cattle imported and A.I. usage increasing year on year.  To cater for registering these Fleckvieh animals, the Irish Simmental Cattle Society established a separate herdbook section and registration numbers are increasing yearly with a lot of potential for additional growth.

Finally, congratulations again to the UK Society and all its members and looking forward with excitement to what lies ahead. Over the years many strong and valuable friendships have been created between members of both Societies. This cooperation and friendship has resulted in the subsequent breeding of many high profiled animals which have left an everlasting stamp on the Simmental breed. Long may this continue as we all strive to help in the breeding of the next superstar!

The Money Maker Breed In New Zeland

The Money Maker Breed In New Zeland



Report on the growing popularity of Simmental cattle in New Zealand from the Simmental NZ President, Colleen Knauf

Simmental would be the third most popular beef breed in New Zealand behind Angus and Hereford and the number one European breed.

The number and makeup of Simmental breeders have changed dramatically over the years that Simmental has been in New Zealand. From many small/hobby breeders there are now fewer breeders but with larger herds and on a more commercial basis.

Growth would be the prime reason for producers looking to Simmental. Cattle reach target weights more quickly than traditional breeds. “Gone before the second winter” is an advertising slogan that Simmental NZ has coined. Hybrid vigour is also a factor in attaining the extra growth and weights. Simmental is mainly crossed over Angus and Hereford cattle to get extra growth from the Simmental and hybrid vigour.

Docility is becoming a factor as Simmental NZ now have a docility EBV and have worked very hard in the last 10 years to improve a negative image of the temperament of Simmental. The strength of the breed in the past has been its terminal traits but it is becoming increasingly recognised as a maternal breed as well. Better constitution of the breed in New Zealand conditions has been a factor in this.

There is even some use now of Simmental as a terminal sire for Dairy herds as they look to Dairy beef for-profit and to find a better use for “bobby calves”. Bulls are specifically bred for

easy calving and lower gestation to suit the dairy industry.

The variety of colour has sometimes been a problem even though it is only ‘skin deep’! Traditional red and white dominate in popularity followed by a plainer red with a little white, blonde and a few black Simmentals.

Simmental do well anywhere in New Zealand.  They are found in the tropical north and right down to the chilly bottom of the South Island.  Ultra sound scanning technology has found cattle to have thicker hides in colder climates and of course they develop thicker coats.

Most sales are still for R2 bulls but there is a growing trend to sell yearling bulls as well.

Average Prices for 2year old bulls would be approx. $5,000 – $10,000.  Top money about $20,000.  Pedigree Female stock $1,200 as R1 to $3,500 for older females.  Chinese buying has buoyed the female market in recent years. Commercial values are related to the meat schedules which have hovered around $5 kg for the last five years.

Beef prices have been very good by New Zealand standards over the last few years.  Like everything else, the outlook is somewhat uncertain with the effects of Coronavirus on markets.  Simmental in New Zealand are enjoying a positive come back to cross breeding after a successful marketing effort by Angus in recent years.

Here are an example of just some of the commercial straplines and selling points that that Simmental NZ are using to market and promote the breed in New Zealand


Pound for pound, Simmentals are unbeatable. 8.5% to 23.3% extra live weight gain at weaning. 10% extra live weight gain at finishing. 3% extra return on finished carcass weight.


Beef + Lamb NZ Genetics progeny test results prove that a Simmental sire over your cow herd produces the heaviest progeny, and they’re getting some of the highest prices per kg.


Reach optimum carcass weight before the second winter – less feed, less cost, less fuss. Nothing finishes faster than a Simmental.


Simmental were the first breed to produce an EBV for docility to allow breeders to actively select for quiet temperament. The misconception that Simmentals are temperamental has been laid to rest. They just get the job done, no drama.

The majority of stock in New Zealand are fed grass only, outside in all weathers.  Supplements may be some hay or silage.  Most New Zealand Simmental tend to be a little smaller and more athletic than their British counterparts because of the environment that they

and their progeny have to thrive in.  In the past, it was generally thought that the European breeds such as Simmental were “softer” and required easier farming conditions than their traditional Angus and Hereford counterparts.  However, there are more breeders challenging this conception and breeding Simmental cattle that can do well on hill country.

Cows have to calve unassisted out on the farm and therefore calves have to be good at getting up and having feed straight after birth.  Cows need to have good mothering ability.

The Society currently has a contract with ABRI Australia to provide registration services and performance recording.  Simmental NZ also works on contract with PBBNZ (Performance Beef Breeders NZ) which provides and combines services for the main breeds in New Zealand.  All contracts and day to day running are provided by PBBNZ. 

Simmental NZ are currently working on getting EBVs (Estimated Breeding Values) to include genomic evaluations.  Sires have to be DNA profiled to verify parentage.  Breeders are encouraged to take advantage of the increasing genetic information available.  For example, whether stock is horned or polled.  Important because of increasing animal welfare restrictions on dehorning.  Another example is the colour issue.  Genomic testing is available to identify the dilution gene which will give grey coat colour over black cows – can be important for farmers crossing Simmental over Angus and Angus cross cattle.

For the last five years, Simmental NZ has been financially involved in supporting a Beef Progeny Test evaluating EBV’s.  It has been a worthwhile investment as Simmental has done well in most areas.

There are just over 4,000 cows registered at present with Simmental NZ.  More information and stories of New Zealand Simmental can be found on