Long term success in the beef business depends largely on the continued support of beef consumers. The world demand for quality beef is high, and the American Simmental Association (ASA) is committed to providing consumers with safe, affordable, and tasty beef. SimGenetics refers to the varied populations of Simmental influenced cattle including purebred Simmentals, Fullbloods, SimAngus, SimAngusHT, Simbrahs, and any other Simmental Hybrids. Follow the links in this section to delve deeper into the characteristics of each population. The following text highlights the SimGenetic advantage as a whole this group has gained collectively.
Through the years, the American Simmentals gained a reputation as the science breed. From the foundation of the Association, emphasis on performance data, progeny testing, and genetic evaluation has been the core of ASA’s existence. ASA's Carcass Merit Program, feed conversion data, and calving ease research establishes Simmental as a beef industry leader combining growth and carcass value with outstanding cow traits. ASA's research is backed by the most extensively documented and databased genetics in the industry.
Focus on Carcass traits: The SimGenetic cattle are backed by programs like the Carcass Merit Program and the latest, Carcass Expansion Program to increase the number of sire-identified carcass records on genotyped cattle.
Focus on Feed Intake: Through an incentive for feed intake data, breeders can receive a 50% price discount on GGP-LD genomic tests, in exchange for feed intake data on the same animal. Additionally, the ASA added collection of individual feed intake and genomics to the Carcass Merit Program data. Both programs increase the number of feed intake records in the database on genotyped cattle. Building better genomic predictions on feed intake will allow all DNA testing cattle to have a more accurate prediction of this vital trait.
Focus on Maternal traits: Through a whole herd reporting system, Total Herd Enrollment (THE), the ASA has collected cow productivity for years - building a robust database for cow stayability - one of the most valuable traits to the cow-calf operations. The Cow Herd DNA Roundup, launched in 2017, has bolstered the number of whole herd genotypes on females - adding valuable genomic information for maternal traits, reducing bias due to selective genotyping, and ramping up the volume of genotypes in the evaluation. Additionally, breeders stepped up to the plate and added over 42,000 mature weights records with BCS or HH since the CHR began. Through the CHR, breeders are returned Genomically-enhanced EPDs, adding accuracy to their predictions similar to having a life-time of calf records.
Commitment to quality genetic predictions and selection tools: The science of genetic improvement is at the core of ASA’s existence. Quality predictions start with quality records. In addition to the above programs geared to add carcass, feed intake, cow herd data, and genomic records, the majority of the data entering into ASA’s database come from breeders reporting on the whole herd (through THE) - ideal for contemporary group comparisons.
As of January 2019:
- 5.6 million animal records in ASA’s database
- 121,069 active cows enrolled annually in Total Herd Enrollment (THE) by ASA members
- Over 77,000 genotyped cattle
Backed by the world’s largest multi-breed genetic evaluation in beef cattle
International Genetic Solutions (IGS), facilitates the collaboration of like-minded breed associations with genetic evaluation and genetic improvement of beef cattle. IGS’s multi-breed genetic evaluation system has the distinction of being the world’s first and the world’s largest. In May of 2018 ASA published a full suite of EPDs with a revolutionary change to the evaluation, dubbed the IGS Multi-breed Genetic Evaluation powered by BOLT. Leveraging software developed by Theta Solutions, LLC, the IGS science team revamped the genetic prediction models to better estimate EPDs, added single-step genomics, and gained a more accurate accuracy, all while performing weekly evaluations for the collective IGS breed associations.
As of January 2019:
- 17.6 million animal records in the database from 13 different breed associations
- 375,000 new animal records added annually
- 190,017 genotyped animals in the database
Simmental genetics get a larger piece of the market share in recent years.
The emphasis on science, data collection, and commercially valuable cattle has placed SimGenetics in a sought after spot in the beef industry. According to the National Association of Animal Breeders, Simmental-influenced bulls ranks second for semen sales compared to all other beef breeds. In the last three years, not only have semen companies sold more units of SimGenetics semen, the percentage of semen sold in the US from Simmental bulls has grown by 33%. This translates to Simmental getting a bigger piece of the semen-sales pie.
Suggested reading: "Simmental Cattle" Cattle.com.