The Simmental Advantage: Meet the 2019 federal council

The Simmental Advantage: Meet the 2019 Simmental Australia Federal Council


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Simmental Australia held its 2019 AGM at Gympie, Qld, coinciding with the Simmental feature at the Gympie Show

Simmental Australia held its 2019 AGM at Gympie, Qld, coinciding with the Simmental feature at the Gympie Show. Stuart Moeck was voted in as president, in his first time in the position.

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Stuart Moeck 

Simmental Australia president Stuart Moeck began breeding Simmentals 20 years ago, when he was just 16 years old.

Stuart Moeck

Stuart Moeck

He established Valley Creek Simmentals, based at Bowral, NSW, with a cow from the Wendouree Stud, and now runs the stud alongside wife Samantha.

"The biggest opportunity is for us to become the European breed of choice, because realistically we can be maternal and carcase orientated all in one," Mr Moeck said.

"In the past 10 years Simmentals have improved positive fats and are probably the highest marbling European breed, I think everything is headed in the right direction."

Mr Moeck said the predictability and maternal traits the Simmental female could now offer was a big drawcard for the rebuild, particularly as the beef industry looks towards restocking once rainfall comes.

"As soon as there is more widespread rain, particularly in northern NSW and southern Queensland, the commercial sector looks really promising, we will go into a rebuilding phase and the sky's the limit," he said.

Peter Wenn

Past president of the federal council Peter Wenn is now the treasurer, having been involved with the breed for well over two decades.

Pete Wenn

Pete Wenn

Peter and wife Vanessa run Pinaroo Hills Simmental stud at Bunyip in Victoria's west Gippsland.

Peter said the breed has been moving forward very quickly in recent years, having come into vogue.

"We've been getting the word out there and have become very popular for crossbreeding, especially in the Black Simmental area crossing with the Angus, which is such a big breed," Mr Wenn said.

"And there are still many things happening with the traditional Simmental, especially when it comes to crossbreeding with many breeds - we are lucky to have a multifaceted breed which showcases Simmental attributes."

Mr Wenn added that with the rise of genomics and DNA in cattle breeding in Australia, breed societies needed to keep up with the technology, or risk being left behind.

Scott York 

Senior vice president Scott York and his family run Billa Park Simmental Stud at Jackson on the western Darling Downs in southern Queensland.

Scott York

Scott York

Mr York said Simmentals were now getting recognised for their strong maternal and terminal traits.

"It is good to see finally after years of being behind other breeds, especially in our neck of the woods, for people to realise we offer a little bit more than those other breeds," he said.

And with some relief from the drought in areas of western Qld, Mr York hoped in the short term the breed could now expand out to those areas.

"With the coming up of the straight blacks and reds we now have a wider market spectrum into producers who want to keep solid coloured herds, where once people were colour biased," he said.

"Long term hopefully we can go export, we are one of the cleanest and greenest countries in the world, and I don't think our genetics are utilised enough worldwide."

John Hopkins

John Hopkins' family was one of the first to bring Simmentals into Australia, and their passion for them hasn't waned since.

John Hopkins

John Hopkins

He now runs Wormbete stud with wife Nicole and daughters at Illabo in NSW.

Mr Hopkins believes the Simmental breed plays a critical role in the domestic production of quality cattle, bringing growth for age, fertility, and mothering ability.

Tom Baker

Tom Baker runs Woonallee Simmental stud at Furner in the south east of South Australia with wife Lizzy.

Tom Baker

Tom Baker

"The growth we've seen in breed demand is based on what the Simmental can offer in terms of maternal and terminal traits- we have the ability to cover both those bases as well, if not better, than any other breed, especially in the north," Mr Baker said.

"The ability to maintain growth while laying down the fat cover is where that demand is coming from - cattle that can get out there and live and grow and hit fat cover specifications is where we've seen the growth."

Tom said the climatic conditions and the effect the drought has had on the cow herd was a challenge for all across the beef industry moving forward.

Garry Gillett

Operating Laraleigh Simmentals at Lara, Victoria, with wife Kaye, Garry Gillett says the breed has definitely increased in popularity in the past few years.

Garry Gillett

Garry Gillett

"We got away from the animals we had in the late 80s and early 90s, which were a lot of the wrong type that had been imported," he said.

"We are now producing animals that meet the market, medium framed middle of the road early maturing types.

"Crossbreeding with most of the other British breeds is a definite advantage for breeders, they get the heterosis effect.

"The Simmentals will add growth and reduce some of the fat wastage on them, and they usually reach market weights a lot earlier, so don't have to be fed as long or on mothers as long."

Mr Gillett said a database was being built up for genetic testing, with single step evaluations likely to be available to the breed in the not too distant future.

"Our biggest challenge is the same as other breeds - weather conditions and drought, a lot of our members have reduced their numbers or destocked, and some parts of Northern NSW are still in terrible condition," he said.

Audrey Weightman

Topweight Simmentals stud principal Audrey Weightman is based in Margaret River, Western Australia, and has been breeding Simmentals for over 40 years.

Audrey Weightman

Audrey Weightman

"They are such a versatile breed - they can do anything that anybody asks of them in any part of the world," she said.

"I have seen them in plus 40 degrees in Namibia and in minus 40 in Canada, and they adapted to both."

Ms Weightman said the breed has also adapted to the required fat score for the Australian market, while in Europe where the demand is for leaner meat, they continue to fill that market too.

"They are a very good crossing breed for higher performance in the commercial industry."

Michael Frankcombe

Tasmanian breeder Michael Frankcombe runs Slopes Simmentals at West Kentish, on the north west coast of the state. He has been breeding Simmentals for the past 30 years.

Michael Frankcombe

Michael Frankcombe

"Over the years we have concentrated on our breed as terminal sires for crossbreeding and that has put us in good stead - the popularity for our cattle, our bulls especially, has really taken off," he said.

"Drought is a problem for people on the mainland, and while it is not affecting my area of Tasmania at the moment, what will affect us is the number of cattle available for slaughter and subsequent prices. The effect of swine fever in China may mean we see more meat heading there and the more meat we can sell the more profitable we are."

  • Contact Simmental Australia on (02) 6773 2714 or visit www.simmental.com.au

The story The Simmental Advantage: Meet the 2019 federal council first appeared on The Land.

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