Simmental – The Constant in an Ever-Changing World
In the midst of a global pandemic, an associated economic downturn and a widespread drought close to breaking historic records, the agricultural landscape is facing much uncertainty right now. Farmers are having to change tact and make new decisions about their operations on a daily basis.
Whilst there is a lot of change afoot, one thing remains the same – and that’s the Simmental influence. Now more than ever commercial farmers should be looking to the breed that performs consistently well across the board and delivers in terms of the bottom line.
The last couple months have illustrated just how volatile the markets can be in our industry. With the nation coming to a standstill and severe drought conditions hitting the North Island, prices have been affected, both in the sale yards and at the works. Simmental is renowned for its market flexibility and the fact the breed is highly sought after as four-day-old calves, weaner calves, store cattle and at slaughter. That means you have the ability to ride any turbulence in the markets and sell at a time that will deliver the best profit result.
Commercial operator, Phil Johnston, of Aramo Farms in King Country is a big advocate of the Simmental breed in this respect.
“I first introduced Simmental to try and get more hybrid vigour and better growth rates in my commercial herd and this has certainly paid dividends,” he says.
“Compared with other breeds, you end up with a much more versatile animal that you can do a bit more with.
“They can finish strongly as a young animal, but equally they can carry through a second winter if required and still do really well.”
He says having the options just makes you less of a slave to market fluctuations, which are very much a part of farming.
Simmental isn’t a breed that needs to lean on market premiums – it is the premium.
With our meat payment system in New Zealand being weight based, the high growth rates and early finishing ability of the breed provides farmers certainty at the end of the supply chain. Simmental convert feed to weight more efficiently than other breeds so this automatically means more bang for buck for farmers, which is especially valuable at times like this when feed is very much a struggle for some.
John and Linda McGurk of Wairoa run their commercial beef operation with the goal of finishing everything before the second winter, and find the Simmental influence delivers the best results for them in this respect.
“The Simmental breed has certainly helped us to put meat on our cattle and reach solid slaughter weights before a second winter.
“This season we will have averaged 315kg for our steers and 275kg for heifers – and we are very happy with that.”
The Simmental advantage doesn’t end there – they are also known for being highly productive breeding females with excellent maternal qualities.
Russell and Margot Dever, of Poko Poko Station at Waikaremoana are testament to this, with their long-standing success topping weaner fairs in both Hawke’s Bay and Wairoa since first introducing Simmental to their operation around 15 years ago.
“Once I brought Simmental into the mix I was suddenly selling weaners well over 300kg so you can’t argue with their mothering and milking ability.”
He says once they went Simmental they never went back – they introduced them for a reason and they weren’t let down.
“Growth rates are obviously a key contributor when it comes to profitability and the bottom line but with Simmental you get more than this – you get the whole package.”
He says Simmental used to get a bit of grief for temperament but he certainly has never experienced this.
“It was the opposite for us – I noticed a marked improvement in temperament when I switched to Simmental.
“You can see how passionate the breeders are and they don’t muck around – they are very strict in their culling policies which has really come through in the bulls we see today.”
So, there you have it.
In a world that’s becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable – let Simmental be your shining light of consistency.
- Market Flexibility
- High Growth Rates
- Excellent Mothering Ability
- Sound in Temperament
Simmental delivers on all of this.