by | Oct 8, 2021

Some record averages at sales with strong clearance rates, confirmation of the Simmental breed as the UK’s number one continental breed for age at slaughter, and a solid year of financial performance are just some of the highlights from British Simmental Cattle Society President Stewart Stronach’s first annual report to members.

Opening the Society’s fifty first annual report for the 2020/2021 year, Mr Stronach, Maisley, Keith, Banffshire summarises the breed’s performance at Society Sales in the year and which included:

• A breed record sale average of £6482 (£+1443 on the year) at Stirling in February 2021, and a top price of 26,000gns, the second highest price for a Simmental bull at auction.
• The largest number of bulls sold across the breeds at Stirling in October 2020, and an average of £5589 (+£411 on the year).
• A record breed average of £4987.50 (+£977.50) at the Worcester Sale in May.
• A record average of £5345 (+£510) for the Stirling May Sale.

Whilst noting that the sale numbers were again distorted by the Covid situation, Mr. Stronach said that the demand at these sales had been extremely encouraging for the breed and had been replicated in off-farm sales. Commenting he said: “Through the year we’ve seen a strong demand for Simmental store and breeding cattle in commercial sales. The breed is naturally efficient, producing fertile and milky females which are easy to handle, as well as the extra growth in easy fleshing calves.”

Pistyll Kingsman sold for 26,000gns at Stirling in February 2021, the top price Simmental in the year

Mr. Stronach’s report highlights that whilst the breed is known for its maternal qualities, the SRUC & AHDB’s National Beef Evaluations has shown Simmental to be the UK’s Number One Continental beef breed for age at slaughter: “Green credentials and a reduced carbon footprint are going to be big factors in the forward beef industry both in suckler and dairy beef. This ability in age at slaughter, coupled with weight for age, producing beef from grass, and advantages in growth rate, can define the Simmental breed in delivering a green beef product with increased profitability.” With the aim of meeting the needs of the commercial producer, the report also highlights the ‘significant’ genetic progress the breed has made in breed averages over the last twenty years for both Self Replacing and Terminal Indexes.

A stated aim in the report is to build on the established sale base of the breed and develop pedigree sales in England. In addition to the potential at the Worcester Sale in May, a further sale fixture was introduced at Melton Mowbray in March of this year. Plans for an exciting new ‘Next Generation’ Sale of females and weaned calves at Borderway Mart, Carlisle, in December 2021 have also been announced.

In the Financial Statements presented for the year the Society announces making a surplus on the year of £105,000, and inclusive of a figure of £57,000 in unrealised investment gains. The total fund balances/financial reserves of the Society at the end of the year are shown as £877,569. The figures for the year are noted as being inclusive of over £20,000 in expenditure on the Society’s transition of its DNA services from Microsatellite (MS) to Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) technology.

Pedigree registration numbers are reported as having remained at a similar level to recent years, but with the President noting a continuing downward pressure and ‘work ahead to add value to all members’ pedigree registrations”. Speaking to the financial statements, Mr. Stronach said: “The Society’s finances are solid in a period of some transition and with good budgeting will allow for the Society to continue to carry out its core herd book, promotional and technical work. The year’s figures do need to be put in context with the expenditure around shows and sales in the year significantly reduced and again due to the Covid circumstance”.

In other snapshot highlights in the report, the growing export market for Simmental genetics is noted with live animals, semen, and embryos having sold in the year to markets in Australia, Germany, Switzerland, China, USA, and Italy respectively. Also reported is the 2021 ‘Virtual’ Simmental Show with this online competition having had a remarkable entry of over 750 pedigree Simmentals animals across twelve classes.

The Annual Report has been released and circulated in advance of the 51st Annual General Meeting of the British Simmental Cattle Society, which is scheduled to be held on Monday 18th October, the day before the Stirling Simmental Bull Sale, at United Auctions, Lomond Suite, Stirling Agricultural Centre commencing at 9.30am.