General information

Simmental cow: conditions and prospects of breeding


Simmental cow breed is one of the most ancient. It is universal, has both excellent meat and dairy characteristics. Simmental bulls gain weight very quickly. Their meat tastes good, so farmers often feed them. Simmental cows provide excellent full-fat milk, which is perfect for making cheeses. They give birth to strong calves and have a steady lactation. Simmental cows are very hardy and easily adapt to any conditions.

Breed history

Work on the Simmental cattle began in the 5th century. Breeders became Celtic farmers, the ancestors of the modern Swiss. The name of the animals gave their homeland - Simmental Valley. Breeders wanted to get cattle that would be adapted for grazing in the highlands and had good milk production. However, it was only in the 19th century that cows received higher milk yield.

Up to this point, the breed of cattle simmental was distinguished by a strong constitution, but mediocre milk productivity. The cows were in excellent health, therefore, many nations sought to pour their blood to their local cows. For example, simmentals were used to create rocks: Bulgarian red, flekfi, monbellyard, Hungarian variegated, etc.

In the 19th century, serious work was carried out over the livestock to obtain higher yields. And the breeders finally achieved success. In the middle of the 19th century, Simmental cattle were brought to Russia. Here, too, work was carried out to improve the quality of the breed. She was acclimatized for many republics of the Soviet Union. Even photos of the Simmental breed of those times have been preserved. Currently, these cows are very popular in Russia. Bred simmentals in other countries: Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan.

The breed of cattle Simmental is characterized by strong bones and proportionate build. Animals have well developed muscular tissue, thick skin, strong skin.

Description of the Simmental breed:

  • Calves at birth have an average weight of 34 to 42 kg, their mothers from 550 to 590 kg, their fathers from 850 to 1100 kg.
  • The height at withers in bulls is 138-145 cm, in cows - from 133 cm.
  • Animals are predominantly red with white color.

Simmental cattle is unpretentious, has excellent adaptive qualities. This breed was distributed in most regions of Russia. Simmental cows will feel great in the cold Urals and in the hot south. These cows are most often covered from the first time, the number of successful fertilizations is about 93%. Also in 5% of cases, pregnancy in cows turns out to be multiple. Calving often passes easily, especially if the bull's seed was picked up by an experienced livestock specialist.

Features of growing

Simmental breed is very enduring and perfectly adapts to any conditions. Thanks to these qualities, calves are born healthy and strong. The milk of Simmental cows is very nutritious, which contributes to the good development of the young.

Calves of this breed are raised both on the suction and separate from the mother. If the farmer decided not to separate the baby from the cow, then after the birth they are left together. The calf can stay on the suction for up to 9-10 months. If it is planned to feed the baby manually, then after birth it is placed in a separate house.

They usually try to train the heifer farmers to the grain, as it is very important to effectively develop the scar. This will allow the cow to produce more milk in the future. Bull-calves with grain are most often introduced later. In general, they can stay on the suction for a very long time and practically not be interested in concentrated feed.

Simmental meat oriented

This breed is considered universal in animal husbandry. Simmental cattle is able to please the owner with good milk production and excellent meat gain. But each individual has a more pronounced tendency toward one of the directions. For example, there are cows that produce very little milk, but large and hardy calves are born from them. Then we can say that it is better to keep this animal for meat purposes.

Simmental calves usually give a good weight gain. From them subsequently grow large and strong bulls. The weight of many record players in the Simmental breed is more than a ton. In order to get such large bulls, they need to be well fed. Usually animals are offered haylage, silage, concentrates, grain. They should always receive a balanced diet. If you feed a Simmental bull with low-calorie food, its weight gain will be small.

Dairy simmentals

This breed of cows is unique in its versatility. Calves of Simmental breed can be raised not only for meat, these cows, with proper care, can show high milk production. It is very convenient that cows perfectly adapt to any climate. Many breeds in the heat throw off the milk, and Simmentals keep milk yield. They are less sensitive to some diseases than other animals.

Milk from Simmental cows has a high fat content, it turns out a lot of cottage cheese, cheese, butter. Make from it and amazing sour cream. Farmers who keep such cows at home say that more than 1 liter of cream is often defended in the bank. But the more productive the Simmental cow, the more she eats. On one hay and water, good yields from this cow will not be received.

To increase milk productivity in the diet of Simmental cows include cake, meal, barley. If the owner cannot independently draw up a feeding plan for his cow, then he can buy ready-made feed. Simmentals that show high productivity necessarily include premixes in the diet.


Simmental breed can hardly be called early ripening, usually the first calving takes place in 2.5-3 years. The average milk yield from 3000 to 5500 liters per lactation. Outstanding cows are more productive. There were cases when Simmental cows were given up to 12,000 liters of milk per lactation. Of course, so productive cows are rare, and they require special care. The milk of these cows is balanced for protein, so it is so tasty. Fat content usually ranges from 3.8% to 4.5% in different animals.

In the conditions of a private farm, cows of Simmental breed for the first lactation give at the peak of 15-17 liters of milk. After the second calving, cows increase milk yield and show productivity over 20 liters per day. But we are talking only about cows of the Simmental breed, which have a milky orientation. If a cow has a pronounced meat body type, then most likely, even with good feeding, the owner will receive from her a maximum of 10 liters of milk per day.

Breed advantages

The advantage of Simmentals is their natural endurance. They are less susceptible to disease than most breeds. This cattle perfectly adapts to any living conditions. Bullhead breed Simmental with proper feeding will always delight the farmer with high weight gain. Cows show good milk production and stable lactation.

Simmental cattle have a gentle and obedient disposition. Animals are patient, calm and peaceful. They can be grazed in the herd on the free-range, but they will also feel comfortable in the conditions of the farm. Strong immunity allows you to use cows for a long time. Not rarely Simmental cows at home lived to 15-17 lactation.

This breed is often born several calves. This quality allows the owner to get a good financial profit. Simmental calves will not sit at the owner, most likely they will be bought shortly after the announcement. The population likes strong and large young. Also, calves can grow on their own for meat and make a profit after slaughter.

Breed minuses

Like any productive animals, Simmentals in the diet should have only high-quality food. Only a balanced diet will help them maintain high productivity. If the farmer is unable to provide this and will feed the cattle of the Simmental breed with hay and water, then he will not see any milk or meat from these cows. Animals will show good milk yield and weight gain only if the diet will cover all needs.

Simmental cows sometimes have physical defects, for example, weak legs. If it is not a problem for a light country cow, then for animals that weigh about a ton is a sentence. Also, this breed has a slack back, which negatively affects the work of the internal organs. Cows have a vicious form of an udder, an underdevelopment of a share, growth of hair on a mammary gland.

Owner reviews

Farmers loved Simmental cattle for a docile temper, many liked calm and affectionate cows. The cows of this breed are extremely intelligent, they easily remember the milking sequence or the time when the mistress gives them grain. Simmental cows are self-assured but not pugnacious. They will not be offended by the herd, but after establishing a hierarchy, empty clashes will not cause problems to the shepherd.

The diet of Simmental cows should be balanced in fats, proteins and carbohydrates. They have a good appetite, eat a lot and with pleasure. But all the money that the owner spent on feed, they will return a good milk production and excellent weight gain.

The history of the appearance of the Simmental breed

Today, we can only say with certainty that the Simmental breed of cows is indeed one of the oldest. Its creation began in the 5th century and work on the improvement of the breed continued until the second half of the 20th century.

There are different opinions about who was the ancestor of the Simmental cow. According to one version, Simmentals are a mixture of wild tours and working cows, which the local Gallic tribes used to extract peat. According to another version, the Simmental breed comes from Scandinavian cattle, introduced to Switzerland at the turn of Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

The question is also controversial: who was the first to start creating the breed - the Gauls (the ancestors of the current French), or the Celts (the ancestors of the Swiss). The only thing that is known for certain is that the breed owes its name to the Simmental River Valley, located in the Bernese Highlands, which is not far from the modern capital of Switzerland. There is no doubt that it was the Swiss who made the main contribution to the development of the breed.

For the first few centuries, selection was carried out mainly in the direction of creating durable and resistant to highlands cows. At the same time, it seems that for a long time the Simmental cow was not distinguished by outstanding productivity. Up to the XVIII century, this was a short, but well-knit and hardy breed with very mediocre performance indicators by modern standards.

However, for this epoch, the Simmentals had quite good characteristics; therefore, the livestock breeders of other countries paid attention to them. Breed representatives were actively used to breed new and improve existing European breeds. Among others, the Simmentalkam owes such breeds as the Montbeliard (France), Flekfi (Germany), Bulgarian Red, Hungarian Motley, and others.

In the 17th-18th centuries, the expansion of a Simmental cow in Europe began to acquire a mass character. And in the XIX century, with the advent of scientific methods of breeding and the change of the general paradigm, the characteristics of the breed were improved even more significantly. In this case, the emphasis was placed not so much on endurance as on productivity and exterior qualities. During this period, the breed began to acquire modern features, and interest in it abroad has grown even more significantly. In particular, the Simmentals came to Russia in the middle of the XIX century, and also quickly gained popularity here.

In the 20th century, breeders in various countries worked to further improve the characteristics of the Simmental cow, while this work in Switzerland itself did not stop either. So by the present moment several main and many secondary intrabreed types have been formed, which makes the Simmental breed the most variable of all currently existing.

In the USSR, the breed is also actively used in animal husbandry. In addition to purebred simmentals, many mixed breeds were derived from them (steppe Simmental, Ukrainian Simmental, Volga Simmental, Ural Simmental, Siberian Simmental, Far Eastern, etc.)

In 1990, we had almost 13 million such cows. The collapse of the Union, the economic problems of the 90s and the change of breeds to more productive ones led to a significant reduction in livestock. But even today in Russia there are about 2.5 million Simmental cows and derivatives derived from it, which is about 15% of the total cattle population. In addition, at the moment, Simmental cows are actively bred in Kazakhstan, Belarus, Ukraine and other post-Soviet countries.

Description and characteristics of Simmental cows

As mentioned above, today there are many types of Simmental cow intrabreed, which indirectly indicates its great popularity and demand. Moreover, all these subtypes can be summarized in four main groups:

  • Milk variety. Specialized dairy types closest to the original Swiss cattle.
  • Mixed varieties. The cattle has good meat characteristics, but the emphasis is still on milk production.
  • Dual purpose. All cows are well-fed, and bulls are distinguished by a large body weight.
  • Moderate meat type. Cows have a well-developed middle plump constitution.
  • Radical meat type. They have a massive constitution and are comparable in meat productivity with classic meat breeds.

In general, the classic dairy and mixed types are also characterized by a rather strong constitution. In the withers, cows grow up to 140 cm with a body length of up to 165 cm. The simmentals have a rather large head with a broad forehead, a back wide, well-developed muscles under thick skin, and a usually rounded udder. The mass of adult cows varies between 550-650 kg, while the bulls weigh between 9 and 12 centners.

The official description of the Simmental cow breed does not contain a rigid suit standard. Most cows and bulls have a fawn, light red, or red-red basic color with abundant white spots on the sides and abdomen. The legs and head (especially the forehead and nose) are always white. In some countries, for example, in the United States, black cows are very common, of which there are about 80%, while the rest are with a rich red-red color of the skin.

As many farmers note, the Simmental cow has a peaceful and peaceful nature, so there are no problems with its content in this regard.

Conditions of detention and diet for Simmental cows

The great popularity of the Simmental breed is explained by the fact that with rather good indicators of productivity, these cows do not cause any particular trouble in organizing the conditions for their maintenance and in the selection of a diet.

In the summer of Simmentalko, you can keep on the street under a simple canopy, or even leave to spend the night on the pasture. In the cold season, of course, you will need a warm, but well-ventilated room with a stable temperature.

Calving in most cases is without complications: the veterinary assistance is not required, as the cow gives birth on its own and then recovers quickly. Calves demonstrate high survival rates, grow well even on artificial feeding.

The diet for Simmental cows is quite standard: summer is grass, hay is in winter, vegetables are fed all year round, and feed is supplied. Since the cows of this breed are quite large, they need enhanced nutrition, especially in winter, when you also need to monitor the fact that there is a sufficient amount of all nutrients in the feed. In the warm season, the animals willingly graze, without refusing, however, from the additional evening portion of grass or hay. In the winter, in addition to hay and mixed feeds, cows can be given boiled corn grains.

To achieve high yields, cows need to be fed to the nursery to never remain empty. That the cow was filled, prompted by her rounded sides.

Simmental cows: the pros and cons

The mere fact that the breed is very popular and constitutes a significant part of the livestock in many countries, speaks of a large preponderance of its positive qualities over the disadvantages. This is evidenced by the fact of the long existence of the breed, the roots of which go to very deep antiquity.

Основными преимуществами коров симментальской породы являются:

  1. Удовлетворительные показатели как по средним удоям, так и по мясным характеристикам. Многие фермеры выбирают эту породу как раз потому, что она и в самом деле универсальна.
  2. The good fat content of milk makes it possible to successfully use it for the production of dairy products of high fat content - butter, cream and cheese. At the same time, milk itself is valued for its excellent taste.
  3. Simmentalki quite easily adapt to the most different conditions of detention. They are equally well in the north, and in the south, and in the stall, and in the meadow, and in the private household, and in the large livestock complex.
  4. Possessing a calm disposition and obedient kind, Simmental cows compare favorably with some highly specialized breeds, known for their resolute character.
  5. Good health and overall stamina is another important advantage of this breed. If you do not violate the basic rules of keeping and feeding cattle, Simmental cows will never get sick.

You can not keep silent about some of the shortcomings that are mentioned by many farmers in their responses about the Simmental breed of cows. When breeding Swiss cows, it is important to consider the following points:

  1. Representatives of this breed often have a slightly incorrect setting of the limbs, making it difficult for animals to move at high speed. In this regard, driving the herd from pasture to pasture, no need to make a gallop race.
  2. Some cows also have insufficient development of the anterior part of the udder. It is not always possible to connect such cows to the milking machine and it is necessary either to milk it manually or to select a special model of the device.
  3. Inverse relationship between meat and milk production. This feature exists in one way or another in all existing breeds of cattle, but in simmentals it is manifested especially. Therefore, farmers have to keep the dairy herd separately from the meat, without crossing them with each other.

Prospects for breeding in Russia

In our country, the Simmental breed of cattle has been known for a long time and for a long time has played almost the most important role in dairy cattle breeding. It is on its basis that many domestic breeds were bred or improved. At times, the Simmental breed and its derivatives accounted for 15-20% of the total cattle population in our country.