Simentaler, Producer of Both Beef and Milk

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 at the end of last month. Farmers’ Forum has started a regular weekly column to help serve as a guideline in livestock production. Today, Deon Schlechter looks at the Simmentaler, a cattle breed that plays a major role in Namibia in cross-breeding, especially with Brahman cattle for increased milk production.

The Simmentaler breed has a dual purpose. In Namibia, however, the focus is on beef production, but without neglecting milk production. The coat colour varies from dark red to cream with white spots or patches in any pattern, spread irregularly over the body. The breed’s popularity is also because of the outstanding results achieved in almost all crossbreeding systems.

The Simmentaler breed has “Simsational’ performance. It is a true beef producing breed with outstanding performance when compared with the ten best known performance tested breeds, according to the Simmentaler Breeder’s Association of South Africa. The Simmentaler is known for its calm and placid yet alert, temperament. The Simmentaler is, after the Holstein, the most popular breed worldwide, due to its triple breed qualities – milk, beef and as a draught animal. Namibia and South Africa were among the founding members when the World Simmental-Fleckvieh Federation was established in 1974. The Simmentaler is most preferred for its beef production properties and suitability for crossbreeding.

The name “Simmentaler” stems from the place the cattle breed originated from – Simme River Valley in Switzerland. The term “valley” means “Tal” in German. The Simmentaler breed is mainly descendent from the Bos taurus primegenius breed, Aurochs, as well as the indigenous European breeds. It is also slightly related to the Zebu, Sanga and British breeds.

Source : New Era