Simbra, Ideal Beef Breed for Namibian Conditions

Namibian farmers have various livestock species and within these species there is a wide range of well-adapted breeds and eco-types. Some of these breeds and eco-types are of economic importance, but relatively unknown. It is in this connection that the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry found it necessary to summarise information about livestock breeds in the form of the Namibia Livestock Catalogue that was launched recently. Farmers Forum started a regular column last week that will help serve as a guideline in livestock production. Today, Deon Schlechter looks at the Simbra, the breed that has made great inroads since its introduction in Namibia.

Crossbreeding Simmentaler and Brahman cattle has for many years produced good results throughout the world, and in Namibia as well. In the late eighties it was therefore decided to stabilise the good qualities of both breeds in the Simbra. The breed is growing ever since in popularity.

Simbra has not had the teething problems of a new breed because of existing parent organisations. The SimmentalerSimbra Breed Association provided lots of experience, financial strength and a well-developed infrastructure. The Simbra clearly and identifiably exhibits the characteristic traits of the two base breeds. Animals that incline too much towards one of the base breeds, and which consequently can be included in the appendix stud book of that breed, is not classified as a Simbra.

The Simbra is a hardy, smooth coated, well-adapted breed. The bulls are virile, hard-muscled and growing animals, while the cows are feminine, fertile and highly functional. The Simbra is popular and in abundance in Namibia because of its ability to excel in beef production under Namibian conditions.

The Simbra cow, which calves yearly in her natural environment and weans a heavy calf relative to her weight (some 50%), has the size that is pursued by the Breed Society. A “middle of the road size” is recommended and discrimination against too large animals is practised. Hair colour may vary and pigment is not a prerequisite for female animals but is gly recommended. Bulls must have more than 50 percent pigment per eye.

Source : New Era