Originating from the Swiss Alps, the Simmental has gone through tremendous changes since their import to the USA in 1968. Founded as a non-traditional breed association, the focus of American breeders and the development of the American Simmental is built on the idea of making a commercially-applicable and genetically-superior beef animal.
Once used to inject only muscle and milk, the American Simmental has proven to be the leading source of balanced, progressive genetics. The current US Simmental population offers breeding solutions for both maternal and terminal traits.
Simmental cattle have made genetic improvement in traits from calving ease to stayability and growth to marbling during the past 20 years.
The trends of purebred Simmental cattle show improvements in nearly every trait despite some of these traits being negatively correlated. From maternal traits like stayability and calving ease to carcass traits like marbling, Simmental offers profitable genetics to the commercial beef industry. Simmental cattle are known for their growth and continue to have positive weaning weight and postweaning gain trends.
Increase in the average dollar index in purebred Simmental cattle by year of birth for the All Purpose Index ($API; use if keeping replacement heifers) and Terminal Index ($TI; use if all calves will be harvested) and as reference average yearling weight (YW) EPD for the same animals.
Simmental leads across multiple economically relevant traits including growth, milking ability, and carcass value all while seeing a drop in mature cow size.
According to 2018 Breed of Sire MARC research, Simmental ranked second in weaning weight, first in yearling weight, second in maternal milk, second in marbling, third in ribeye area, and second in carcass weight among the Continental breeds. No other Continental breed has such a competitive advantage across all these traits. Even though Simmental excels in growth for feeder calves, mature Simmental cow size remains competitive according to recent USDA MARC data.
To read the history of Simmental in the US, check out Dr. Bob Hough's Simmental’s American Journey.