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About the SIMBRA breed
SIMBRA – THE COMPLETE ALL-ROUNDER
Why choose SIMBRA?
The SIMBRA breed is one of the numerically strongest, largest and most popular breeds of cattle in Southern Africa. This is a remarkable achievement in view of the fact that the breed has only been registered in Southern Africa for a relatively short period of time. Although American breeders have worked on the Simbra idea since 1960, locally the breed was develeopes since 1985. Simbra was declared a developing breed in the Government Gazette on 11 December 1987, and since then has been declared as developed breed. The popularity and performance of the Simbra can be attributed to various reasons.
Most synthetic breeds are raised from specific base breeds and has a system for upgrading. Occasionally, a synthetic breed has a system without specific base breeds, or the choice of base breeds was not fully considered. In some cases, hybridisation occurs. Consequently, results do not always meet expectations. In the case of Simbra, however, the choice of base breeds was well-considered, an effective system was established and it is driven by a dynamic and independent Society (Reg No 62/98/B-87) and is also registered as a Registration Authority (Reg No 62/98/R-13).
The Base Breeds
The choice of base breeds are extremely important in the development of a synthetic breed. These breeds must be numerically strong in order to enhance selection possibilities. A broad inner breed gene pool will ensure enough variation to select the right animals for a specific purpose and environment. The base breeds must differ widely to maximally utilise heterosis. The breeds must be able to complement and supplement each other over a wide range of characteristics. The choice of Simmentaler and Brahman as the base breeds for the Simbra satisfy these requirements.
The ancestors of the current Simmentaler was the Bernese, a breed from the Simme valley in the Bern region of Switzerland. These animals were very popular in this cold, harsh mountain region, owing to excellent beef and milk production. They were also great draught animals. In 1806 the first herd book was created with a performance requirement for registration. From this valley, the Simmentaler spread across the world and is one of the most popular and numerically superior dual-purpose breeds on earth today. The first Simmentalers were imported to Namibia in 1893 and to Southern Africa in 1905. Simmentaler was bred to adapt to our unique environment and remains the most popular dual-purpose breed, the third most important beef breed, and the fourth most important milk breed in Southern Africa.
The Brahman was developed in 1835, on the southern coastal plains of the USA near the Gulf of Mexico. The breed was developed from various Indian breeds, of which the Guzerat, Nelore, and Gir were the most prominent. The area is described as subhumid and is ravaged by external and internal parasites. The first Brahman was imported to Namibia in 1953 and to Southern Africa in 1956. Brahman’s popularity has increased sharply and it is currently the second most important beef breed in Southern Africa.
It is clear that Simmentaler and Brahman were the best choices for the development of a new synthetic breed. Both have a wide gene pool, is numerically strong, differs significantly from each other and can supplement each other in a distinctive manner.
Purpose of SIMBRA
The purpose of the Simbra was to raise a breed that could adapt to the Southern African environment; not only the physical environment, but also the production systems and market requirements. To achieve this goal, the milk and beef production capacity of the Simmentaler was combined with the adaptability, disease resistance and hardiness of the Brahman. In view of the popularity of the Simbra, the plan was highly successful.
Breeding with SIMBRA
The Simbra breed development programme is kept as simple as possible to make it easy for new and aspiring breeders. An open herd book allows the continued recording of new first generation compositae. This ensures genetic variation and facilitates easy adaptation to changing environments and requirements. As much heterosis as possible is maintained, especially in later generations. This is done by using many sires in the programme, limiting inbreeding and keeping large herds. Breeders actively participate in performance testing and strive for optimal performance in various economically important traits.
Become part of the SIMBRA Society
The Simbra Cattle Breeder’s Society of Southern Africa is a dynamic and independent Society. The Society is a member driven organisation, registered in terms of the Animal Improvement Act. The annual general meeting (AGM) is the highest authority of the Society. A council is elected at he AGM, and in combination with the office staff responsible for achieving the goals of the Society within the framework of the Society’s constitution.
The Complete All-Rounder
Simbra delivers optimal performance in a number of economically important properties, which satisfies the needs of commercial breeders, feedlots and the end user. The Simbra system uses and manages the genetic resources of two unique base breeds as effectively as possible. Risk is reduced as a result of the adaptability of both the breed and the system, a large gene pool, open herd book, as well as compulsory inspection and selection. The breed, as part of a large Society, is economically viable and very profitable, thanks to excellent production and low input costs. Simbra and the Simbra system are socially acceptable because it can be managed and controlled with ease, and because it is based on logical and scientifically founded principles.
It is clear from this short overview that Simbra satisfies all the requirements (best base breeds, unique system, dynamic Society and breeders) to be a successful breed; a breed that can make a significant contribution to the Southern African beef cattle industry.
Simbra is indeed The Complete All-rounder