Simmental is a breed of cattle whose history dates back to the Middle Ages. Early records indicate that Simmental cattle were the result of a cross between large German cattle and a smaller breed indigenous to Switzerland. The name Simmental is derived from the name of the area where the cattle were first bred - the Simme Valley which is situated in the Berner Oberland in Switzerland.
Simmental color varies from gold to red with white, and may be evenly distributed or clearly defined in patches on a white background. The head is white and often a white band appears over the shoulders like the photos above. The majority have pigment around the eyes, helping to reduce eye problems which occur from bright sunlight.
American Simmentals are colored differently being predominantly black or red like the example photos below, the lighter colors are referred to as Fleckvieh.
Simmental can be horned or polled, if horned horns are upturned, another distinguishing feature is that they have a heavy dewlap. They have a large frame with good muscling with cows at approximately 135-150cm tall and the bulls at 150-160cm. Their weight can vary on the use of their use but cows can weigh around 700-900kgs and bulls 1300kgs.
Generations of selective breeding, with the objective of maximizing milk and beef production at minimum cost, have created a balanced hereditary proponent that is highly adaptable, heavily muscled, fine-lined, and well conformed. Docility and good mothering traits are other characteristics of the breed.
The breed adapts easily to the most varied conditions from rural small-holder to large extensive ranching operations.
Simmentals are bred all over the world for their high beef yields. Inbreeding, however, it allows variations in emphasis from mothering ability to beefing qualities. The heavy muscling, length and overall size and weight of the animal are combined to produce a well-fleshed carcass of solid red meat with a minimum of waste fat.
In crossbreeding, the Simmental has proved very successful. It provides good growth, a large frame and thus a better beef yield to its crossbred progeny. It improves the quality of the meat with white fat and excellent marbling. It improves the milk yield, resulting in the strong development of the calves in suckler herds.
High, long-term fertility
Short intervals between calving
Excellent mothering ability
Good grazing ability
Good growth rates
Easy to handle
Feed conversion and efficiency
Uniformity in type & color