The Simmental Switzerland is a bovine breed (Bos taurus Linnaeus, 1758) originally from the valley of the Simme in the Bernese, a dual aptitude for the production of meat and milk.
From a systematic point of view, it belongs to the Eukaryota Domain, Animalia Kingdom, Subgenus Eumetazoa, Superphylum Deuterostomia, Phylum Chordata, Subphylum Vertebrata, Infraphylum Gnathostomata, Superclass Tetrapoda, Class Mammalia, Subclass Theria, Infraclasse Eutheria, Superorder, Laurasiatheria, Clade Ungulata, Order Artiodactyla, Suborder Ruminantia, Infraorder Sheep, Family Bovidae, Subfamily Bovinae and then to the Genus Bos, to the Taurus Species and to the Simmental Switzerland.
Geographical and area distribution –
Simmental is a cattle breed that has its origins in the Simme river valleys, in the Bernese Oberland in the Canton of Bern in Switzerland. Its breeding area is very vast, ranging from Germany, Austria, Russia, to Australia and Latin America.
Origins and History –
The Simmental Switzerland is among the oldest and most widely distributed cattle breeds in the world.
This breed was known since the Middle Ages and contributed to the creation of several other famous European breeds such as the Montbeliarde (France), the Razzetta d’Oropa (Italy) and the Fleckvieh (Germany).
The area of origin, as mentioned, is the valley of the Simme in the Bernese. The Swiss Simmental stock (Simmentaler Fleckvieh) retains considerable historical and genetic value.
This breed has fulfilled the role of progenitor and founder of the other European and non-European strains (Italian, German, French, etc.) and its characteristics of correspondence and productivity are also recognized.
The origin of the breed dates back to the 5th century through the crossing of local cattle with subjects from Scandinavia. In ancient times it was a triple aptitude, but with the advent of mechanization and intensive agriculture it was selected to improve the aptitude for milk.
The Simmental is the most represented breed in Switzerland and is now considered a breed more prone to milk production.
Unfortunately, within this breed, there are no more pure-bred cattle with Swiss ancestors. In fact, American, German or Dutch blood flows within this breed.
For this reason, in Switzerland some breeders are working to safeguard the original breed which, despite the millions of animals in the world, has a few hundred animals.
The Simmental breed is recognized for its spotted color. The traditional color of the Simmental is with red and white or fromentino and white patches although there is no specific color and the predominant shades range from a pale yellow-gold to a very dark red. They are harmonious animals of large size and stature.
The head is white (rare red spots) with red ears; the horns are short, waxy yellow, like the hoofs, and turned upwards.
The limbs and the ventral region are generally white; often with a more or less complete white belt on shoulders and loins.
The snout is usually white and this characteristic is often transmitted to calves crossed with other breeds. The mucous membranes are flesh-colored.
The height at the withers is generally 1.35-1.40 m in the cow and 1.40-1.45 m in the bull, with a live weight of about 700-800 kg in cows and 800-1.100 kg in bulls.
Production aptitude –
Simmental over time was selected for the production of milk and meat.
It is a breed that is particularly appreciated for the rapid growth of calves, if properly fed. The Simmental has a combined growth rate with weaning and higher milk production than any other breed.
These animals are very suitable for using difficult and poor pastures for extensive agriculture, obtaining a really high protein yield.
In fact these cattle are known for their excellent metabolic stability.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Roberto Parigi Bini, 1983. Cattle breeds, Pàtron editore, Bologna.
– Daniele Bigi, Alessio Zanon, 2010. Atlas of native breeds. Cattle, horses, sheep and goats, pigs bred in Italy, Edagricole-New Business Media, Bologna.