Simmental cattle

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Simmental Fleckvieh

The Simmental , also Simmental or Simmental called, is an umbrella term for various, often random intersections of various domestic cattle breeds , with a minimum percentage of Red-Holstein Cattle. In Germany this proportion is 12.5%. However, the naming in Switzerland differs from that in Germany and Austria. In Fleckvieh and Simmentaler or Simmentaler Fleckvieh are used synonymously . In Switzerland, Simmental animals are referred to as having less than 12.5% Red Holstein ancestry, while the term Swiss Fleckvieh until July 1, 2008 denotes animals that have between 12.5 and 75% Red Holstein ancestry. Have ancestors. From July 1, 2008, the so-called blood line to distinguish it from Red Holstein was increased to 87%. In addition, Swiss Fleckvieh is to become an independent breed. However, the Simmental cattle in Germany and Austria also have a certain proportion of Red Holstein blood.

Fleckvieh is a so-called dual -purpose breed in which milk and meat production play an equally important role. The breed goes back to domestic cattle in the Simmental in the Bernese Oberland, which was already known in the Middle Ages for its large and piebald cattle.

Breed characteristics

Common to all animals of this breed are the white head, occasionally with eye or cheek spots, white legs, the white lower abdomen and the white tail tassel.

The genetic makeup for these traits is inherited dominantly. The remaining fur can appear in color gradations from light yellow to dark red-brown, and the proportion of white spots is also very variable.

The broad, unpigmented muzzle and the broad forehead of the cattle are just as typical of the breed . The breed has a pronounced dewlap on the underside of the neck . The horns are light, with yellowish tips curved slightly outwards and upwards.

The animals are medium to large in size. The height at the withers is 150 to 158 centimeters for bulls and 138 to 142 centimeters for cows. The cows weigh around 600–800 kg, bulls around 1100–1300 kg. Daily weight gain in bulls is between 1200 and 1500 grams.


The term Simmentaler beef is often used as a quality label in the advertising of various supermarkets. Since only a very small part of the cattle has to come from a certain breed (only 12.5%, see introduction), it is actually mixed cattle. Apart from the quality of husbandry, it is the breed that determines the quality characteristics of the meat. However, since the Simmental beef is a mixed cattle, the quality of the product is not transparent for the end consumer. In addition, unless otherwise stated, the cattle often come from factory farming.

In essence, everything that is produced in beef and cannot be categorized as higher, because it is z. B. contains a particularly high proportion of a breed intended for meat breeding, referred to as Simmental cattle. Meat ripening processes that are intended to improve the quality of the meat are seldom used, but rather everything is wet ripened on meat, which primarily serves the shelf life, not the quality.

Breeding directions

Simmental cows in the pasture

Simmental cattle in double use

As one of the most important cattle breeds in Germany, the Fleckvieh is kept as dual-purpose cattle. The breeding animals are selected according to milk and meat production . Both are at a very high level, the meat performance is significantly better than that of the Holstein cattle breed . To improve milk production, however, Red Holstein is sometimes crossed.

Milk performance test Germany 2008:
an average of 6,806 kg milk, 4.14% fat, 3.48% protein
Breeding goal: 7,000 to 8,000 kg milk; 4.00% fat; 3.70% protein

In 1993, after a comprehensive analysis of the reorganization of the EC agricultural policy with price reduction decisions for milk and beef, a breeding target was set that would result in dual-purpose cattle with an average of 7000 kg milk with 3.9% fat and 3.7% protein and daily weight gain in young bulls of over 1300 g and provided 60% slaughter yield. Adult cows should be 138–142 cm high at the withers and weigh 750 kg. It was recommended to slow down the foreseeable growth in size. Great emphasis was placed on body structure and udder traits. Breeding performance, health and feed consumption were still classified as secondary.

At the end of 2006 the breeding goal was adjusted again. It was based on the objective of Fewson (1993): "Breeding of vital animals which guarantee the highest possible profit under future production conditions". This placed more emphasis on the breeding of healthy animals and the income security of the animal owners. Milk: Meat: Fitness are weighted at 38: 17: 45 and the exterior is considered individually.

Some Simmental cows are already able to achieve a performance of 10,000 kg and more in 305 days. Individual farms in Switzerland even achieve an average output of around 10,000 kg of milk per year.

In Germany, both horned and non-horned Fleckvieh breeds were used with breed key 11 in 2018 for males with an instep height of 150–160cm and a weight of 1200kg (increase daily 1300g) and for females with an instep height of 140–145cm and a weight of 800kg from an annual milk yield of 7500kg. In Germany, the population in 2018 was 743,702 females and 3,060 males.

Meat Simmental (Simmentaler Beef)

Fleckvieh cattle for fattening on a pasture in the Rhön

The use of this breed of domestic cattle as a dual-purpose breed is typical only for Central Europe . This breed of cattle is of great importance worldwide, especially in meat production. The mother's abundance of milk provides a very good basis for breeding as a pure meat breed. The cows' first calving age is 30 months.

Fattening bulls gain around 1,300 grams a day. The slaughter yield is around 63 percent. The meat is lean and can therefore only be found in the cheap price segment.

Breed characteristics of the Fleckvieh meat use :

  • high proportion of valuable meat parts
  • good milk yield
  • high weaning weights

Genetically polled Simmental cattle

Currently only of importance in beef cattle husbandry, the first genetically polled animals are also available in the dual-use type. They are very suitable for playpen and group housing. The risk of injury to one another and to people is minimized.

Fleckvieh-Simmental (Germany)

In Germany, the Simmental Simmental has its own breed key 66. This breed is considered to be a useful breed with typical characteristics or breeding goal as beef cattle with a daily gain of 1650g with an instep height of the male animals of 150-160cm and a mass of 1200kg. The population stagnates at around 11,000 breeding animals.


Original home

The original home of this breed of cattle is probably the Bernese Oberland ( Simmental ). The Simmental Fleckvieh originated from various local breeds. The most important strokes were the large Saanenschlag and the lighter Frgegvieh. What is certain is that the Simmental Fleckvieh has been bred in western Switzerland for at least 1400 years. The Simmentaler Fleckvieh was similarly closely related to the now extinct Freiburg breed as the Red Holstein and Holstein breed. The red Holstein Simmental cow differed from the Freiburg cow in the recessive red factor inherited from both parents, which led to the phenotypically red Holstein appearance.

The beginning of breeding in Germany

Hülshof , Central Hesse , cowherd with “ringel sticks” and Simmental cow, watercolor by Ferdinand Justi 1881

From 1835 the Simmental was purposefully imported to Germany from the Simmental . Four places began about the same time with the pure breeding of Fleckviehs: Hohenheim and Meßkirch in Baden-Württemberg as well as Miesbach , Bayreuth in Bavaria and in Hesse z. B. Hülshof . Today the breeders are organized in the German Society for Breeding Science.

The beginning of breeding in Austria

Around 1830, the first Simmental were used in Austria for both milk production and draft animals. This breed was crossed with local breeds such as the Weißkopfschecken, Redscheckenvieh, Ennstaler Bergschecken, Welser Schecken, Innviertler Schecken and Pustertaler Schecken, Oberinntaler, Unterinntaler or Zillertaler to Fleckvieh. In Austria the Fleckvieh was included in the register of traditional foods .


The Simmental breed is at home on all continents today. With around 41 million animals worldwide, it is one of the most important cattle populations.

Simmental cattle - dual use

country Number of
animals (1996)
Share of
total cattle population
Germany 4,400,000 28%
Austria 2,100,000 80%
Switzerland 800,000 44%
France 1,650,000 9%
Italy 320,000 5%
Czech Republic 1,200,000 60%
Slovakia 400,000 45%
Slovenia 272,000 57%
China 12,000,000 15%
Russia and CIS 16,000,000 24%
other 125,000

Fleckvieh meat use

This breed of domestic cattle is kept mainly for meat production in Great Britain , Denmark , Sweden , USA , Canada , Argentina , Brazil , Mexico , South Africa , Namibia , Zimbabwe , Australia and New Zealand .

Individual evidence

  1. Swiss farmer from November 20, 2007, Swiss Fleckvieh: blood percentage is increased to 87%
  2. a b Wilfried Brade, Gerhard Flachowsky: Cattle breeding and beef production. Recommendations for practice.  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. In Landbauforschung Völkenrode , special issue 313, sub-item: 3.2.2 Breeding goal for Simmental cattle double use@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  3. Swiss farmer dated November 24, 2006, Christens Simmentaler with 15,000 kilograms of lactation
  4. Appendix 6 of the Cattle Traffic Ordinance
  5. Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food : TGRDEU , accessed May 26, 2020
  6. David Seitz: The young bull lie: The biggest misunderstanding of meat in Germany on from September 11, 2016, accessed on March 4, 2017.
  7. Breed description beef: Fleckvieh meat use. In: Central Documentation of Animal Genetic Resources in Germany (TGRDEU). Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food, accessed on August 6, 2015 .
  8. Appendix 6 to the ViehVerkV
  9. BLE: TGRDEU , accessed May 26, 2020, as of 2018


See also

Web links

Commons : Fleckvieh  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Fleckvieh  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations