Simmental is a cattle breed whose history dates back to the Middle Ages. Early records indicate that Simmental cattle are the result of a cross between large German cattle and a smaller breed of Swiss cattle. The name is derived from the area where the cattle were first bred, the Simme valley in Switzerland.

Technically the Simmental designation includes several breeds in Europe. The name is given specifically to the breed in Switzerland. In Germany and Austria the cattle are known as Fleckvieh and in France as Pie Rouge. The Pie Rouge includes three separate herd book registries: Abondance, Montbeliard and Pie Rouge de l'est.


Great marbling

The breed quickly became popular in Europe as it can be used for several purposes. It provides a lot of milk and meat and is a strong draft animal. Demand for working cattle is greatly reduced today but muscularity and high milk production are still important and the breed is still very popular. The breed has several distinctive features. The colour varies from gold to red with white, with the white patches being distributed evenly across the body. The head is white, with a white band often appearing across the shoulders. Most have pigment around the eyes, which helps reduce eye problems caused by bright sunlight.

Simmental cattle are bred all over the world for their high beef yields. Most of the Simmental beef available in the Netherlands is from Austria. The cattle can roam freely in the Austrian mountains, grazing peacefully on the many grasses and herbs that give the meat its characteristic flavour. The Simmental produces beef with nice white fat and excellent marbling. Thanks to the slow breeding methods, the meat has a fine structure. In crossbreeding the Simmental has proved very successful. It grows well, has a large frame and thus a high beef yield. It is also still important as a dairy breed, with the calves growing quickly and healthily. Simmental cattle are generally slaughtered when they are three years old and have calved twice.


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