It's official, calves by a Simmental sire finish earlier than any other continental or native breed.

That was the good news story for the breed from AHDB. In a massive endorsement of British Simmental’s commercial abilities, data from AHDB’s National Beef Evaluations has confirmed that on average, calves by a Simmental finish 36 days earlier than those by continental sires and 46 days earlier than calves by native sires.

Furthermore, Simmental-sired calves can cost £72 less to finish which equates to 5.4kg less CO2 equivalents.

The data also highlights the advantages of Simmental females with continental-sired calves out of Simmental dams finishing 29 days earlier than the average of all suckler dams.

The Scottish Farmer: Society president Norman RobsonSociety president Norman Robson

AHDB’s National Beef Evaluations produce EBVs for five carcase and three maternal traits for all breeds and crossbred cattle across the UK.

Rather than using performance recorded data, data is collated nationally from BCMS, as well as many of the UK’s largest processors and abattoirs. This database includes records from more than 3m animals slaughtered in the last 10 years, which allows AHDB to estimate the genetic merit of beef cattle, including in excess of 500,000 sires, for days to slaughter, carcase weight, and EUROP scores.

Days to slaughter have a huge effect on the efficiency of a farm. Animals that take longer to finish cost more in terms of feed so reduces overall profit.

These animals also produce more greenhouse gases so reducing days to slaughter reduces the carbon footprint of your beef. In the National Beef Evaluations, Simmentals rank highly for this trait in continental breeds (August 2023) and have, on average, the best genetic merit for reducing days to slaughter. The actual performance data of Simmental-bred offspring can also be looked at to see how this translates to actual performance.

Across all types of dams (blue bars), offspring of registered Simmental sires have the lowest average days to slaughter.

* On average, calves by a Simmental sire finish 36 days earlier than those by continental sires and 46 days earlier than calves by native sires.

* Finishing cost per day can vary but if we assume a cost of £2 per day, Simmental-sired calves will cost on average, £72 less to finish than the average of all continental sired calves.

* This reduction in days has a corresponding reduction in environmental impact. The UK government estimates that the average animal produces 151g of CO2 equivalents per day. This means that on average, calves by a Simmental sire, finishing 36 days earlier, will produce 5.4kg less CO2 equivalents.

The Scottish Farmer: Days to slaughterDays to slaughter

However, it's important to remember that a bull only provides half of the genetics inherited by a calf. The other half comes from the dam.

* Across the average of all continental sired calves, those out of Simmental dams finish 29 days earlier than the average of all suckler dams, showing that using Simmental cows is another great strategy to reduce finishing costs.

Commenting, British Simmental Cattle Society president Norman Robson said: “British Simmental is a hard-working, no-nonsense beef breed that delivers on all-round performance and profitability for commercial beef producers and these figures confirm and highlight that.

"In the forward industry with pressure on costs, there really is going to be a premium on efficiency. Simmentals are showing here, in data over ten years, that they give you more both maternally and terminally. Industry-leading at age at slaughter whether sired by a Simmental or out of a Simmental dam, significant reduction in finishing costs, and lower emissions meeting environmental challenges. Add that to the breeds' well-established maternal qualities of easy and regular calving, milk, fertility, and longevity, and it's just good economics for beef producers.

“Earlier in the year the Simmental Bull Buyer’s Survey saw the commercial performance of the breed get a 94% approval rate. These latest figures hugely add to that and as breeders, we will collectively keep working hard at producing Simmental cattle to meet the needs of commercial producers.”