British Simmentals: 50 years of key facts, figures and timelines

1970 – British buying contingent of breeders to Switzerland headed up by Dick Howard (the first president of the BSCS), with the first importation into Lowestoft, Suffolk, comprising 34 bulls and 220 females.

Founder members at the first meeting on August 15, 1970 recorded as: Dick Howard, Robert Vigus; John Moss; James Biggar (Castle Douglas); Francis Young; George Steele; and William Young (Skerrington, Ayrshire).

1972 – Tom Neilson’s Overhall Allendorf became the first Simmental bull to be sold at public auction in the UK at Perth in October 1972 when he made 2400gns selling to D Boswell.

1974 – Simmentals shown at the Royal Show for the first time. Bob Vigus’s Meierisli, the breed’s first Royal Show champion, was one of those early imports.

1974 – Simmentals shown at the Royal Highland for the first time. Westdrums Bruce from the Boots Company Ltd, Hillside Farm, Forfar was male and supreme champion with the two-year-old heifer Kair Tzigane from George Anderson, Laurencekirk being the female champion. The animals were sired by Scottish Neptune and Scottish Neff respectively.

1977 – Sacombe Edgar, a Perth October sale champion was sold to Bertie Watterson of the Oakland herd in NI. He subsequently produced well in excess of 100,000 straws used through the AI Service in NI and really put the Simmental breed on the commercial map in NI.

1978 – Ardo Figaro sold for 3200gns at Perth in February, a new mark for the breed. A new breed record at Perth of 4500gns was then set later in the year for Teviot Golfer from Robin Bell, Kelso.

1982 – Starting in Scotland, the World Simmental Congress was staged in the UK with a memorable day at Hardgrove, Dumfries. The 10-day-long Congress was seen as a watershed moment for the breed in focussing on its pedigree and commercial qualities.

1983 – Breed record price of 7500gns set at Perth for the supreme champion Hockenhull Magnum.

Mid 1980’s – Society registers its 10,000th calf

1985 – Cherkley Hilary, bred by Messrs Smith, Suffolk, bred by sets a breed record of £9450 when selling at a sale at Stoneleigh to Lloyd Powell, Oregon, USA.

1885 – Simmental breed wins the Burke Trophy at the Royal Show for the first time with Milson Matchmaker owned by Willie Allan, Glenturk, and the imported Nelly. Christened ‘Super Simmentals’ the breed wins the Grand Slam of Inter-breed Championships at the Royal, Royal Highland, and Royal Ulster Show.

1989 – In February, 206 Simmental bulls averaged £2592 at Perth. This compared to 45 averaging £1162 in February 1979. The breed was on the major up! It was also 150th anniversary of the Royal Show and 100th anniversary of the NFU. The Simmental breed wins the Burke Trophy, in front of Her Majesty the Queen, with Sterling Parliamentarian and Stuartslaw Melody. And, it was the last sale in the old Perth market which saw Milnafua Vagabond, bred by Messrs Gill, Invergordon, become supreme champion and sell for 10,000gns to Avoncroft Cattle Breeders.

1992-1993 – Introduction of notifications of animals.

1993 – Brinkton bred cattle from Bob and Jean Lunness won five first prizes in the first five classes and every major individual and group award – believed to be a feat never achieved by a beef or diary exhibitor previously at the Royal Show.

1996-1997 – 10,715 calves registered in the year, this is still the highest number of registrations in one year. Report from the secretary: “In 1978 we had 800 members and 1519 registrations, and today (1996) we have 1700 members with 137,411 animals registered in the herdbook.”

1996 – Membership of the society stood at 1700, a record figure that stands today.

2012 – Best Simmental bull sale average – A breed record average of £6236 was achieved with 119 bulls sold at Stirling with a 83% clearance, February 20, 2012.

2013 – Breed record price for the Simmental bull Bel Dhu Capercaillie, bred by Anne MacPherson, Senior and overall champion sold for 45,000gns, purchased jointly by society president and judge for the day Iain Green and Andy Anderson of Smallburn Farms, at Stirling in February 2013.

2015 – Best Simmental autumn bull sale average – October 2015 at Stirling – 66 bulls sold to average £5969.

2016 – Breed record for cows and calves – Dispersal of the Woodhall herd of Hector Macaskill, Dunbar, East Lothian in October 2016 at Stirling topped at 16,000gns and averaged £5030 for 31 cows and calves; £4442 for 10 in-calf cows and £3266 for 10 maiden heifers. Topping the sale was Woodhall Charmaine and her heifer calf Woodhall Helena.

2016 – Introduction of female classification as a breed improvement tool. Individual assessment of female phenotypes to give bull buyers a picture of what type of female a prospective purchase may be out of.

2017 – BSCS in solid financial shape with record reserves at £858k. In February, 2017 at Stirling, 14 bulls commanded five-figure prices which is a breed record with an average of £6066 for 120 bulls sold. At the October sales at Stirling, a breed record for female was achieved at the dispersal of the Sterling herd of Boddington Estates Ltd, when Sterling Barcardi’s Hawaii, an Annick Exocet daughter out of a Sterling Flint daughter sold for 28,000gns to Messrs Barker and Borlase of Sacombe Hill Farm, Watton on Stone. The Sterling herd also secured the second top female breed price of 22,000gns with Sterling Celia’s Fifi and her heifer calf, selling to Harte Peat, Leonards Island, Clones, Co Monaghan.

2018 – Membership increased by 9.3% between 2008-2018 and reached 1126 members from across the UK.

2019 – Membership is 1125, with 7728 calves registered in the year.

Top 10 leading Simmental sires by progeny registered from 1970-2019

Sire Progeny

Brinkton Brilliant 3420

Gretnahouse Supersonic 2168

Scottish Neff 1591

Heywood Esquire 1543

Lodge Nicholas 1540

Blackford Trident 1534

Rickardstown Jumbo 1458

Heywood Scorpio 1353

Sterling Parliamentarian 1262

Sacombe Edgar 1256