As Beef Producers we have a responsibility to continually learn, so we can produce and market better BEEF.
American Simmental Association slogan.
"Visual analysis tells you what an animal appears to be, his pedigree tells you what he should be, his performance and progeny tells you what he actually is".
Is more than a slogan, it's a fact!
FLECKVIEH Simmental cattle came to North America from Germany and Austria, as the most performance tested breed in the world in their day. "German Engineering"
The mentality of the German people was to do whatever it took, pay whatever price it cost to become the very best.
Lessons learned from the mistakes of the punitive nature of the Treaty of Versailles after World War I, were not repeated after WWII. Under U.S. leadership, the Marshall Plan was designed to rebuild Germany, and as an offset to any appeal of Communism.
Gerald Fry's "Scientific Cattle Breeding" is insightful on reestablishing German livestock herds.
The Besammungs Veren genetic program was developed.
1. They performance tested large numbers.
2. IDENTIFIED superior sires.
3. With the advent of A.I. they did 100% A.I. with superior proven tested males.
4. Did not allow natural service breeding to inferior untested bulls.
5. Provided professional assistance for every mating.
6. Created genetics so superior they were exported around the world.
They were performance testing long before most Purebred breeds in the U.S. with the Science and Technology of the day.
It's not a surprise, studying the American Simmental Associations recently developed All Purpose Index for Fullblood Simmental, Fleckvieh DOMINATE the Swiss/French Fullbloods, even tho Fleckvieh were smaller in number imported.
At the same time frame of the late 1960s and early 70s, the American Beef Improvement Federation was being established, to shift away from the traditional evaluation of cattle based solely on visual to one including performance testing. American Simmental Association founding members also embraced testing and performance record keeping.
The goal of our program for Phoenix Cattle is to produce the most efficient high quality beef product possible, using proven high accuracy genetics from Fleckvieh, combined with Black and Red Angus of the same qualities. Instep with innovation, science and technology. Fleckvieh fit the needs of the Beef Industry, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.
Applying and sharing lessons learned from our own experience, along with what's been learned from the experience of other cattlemen who've understood the needs of Seed-stock Producers, Commercial cowmen, Feedlots, and the Consumer.
One of my earliest memories as a kid, is sitting on a fence watching my dad hand sort fat cattle he'd fed, to go to Chicago. My grandfather fed cattle, my uncles fed cattle, my cousins fed cattle, our neighbors fed cattle. That's when farmer feeders were a large segment of the cattle feeding industry. They all took a lot of pride in the quality, yield grade, and performance of the cattle they bought and fed. The Black Baldy were the cattle of choice.
From the start dad had me pick my own 4H calves, naturally they were similar in type to what he fed. In the late 1950s and early 60s a friend of dads was starting a Charolais herd, they were new and different. I'd picked out a Charolais Angus cross steer for the new 4H carcass contest, by chance that calf won the contest on the rail, but in the live competition, he was nothing special in the judges eye. 2 lessons learned from that experience, show judges can't pick the best beef animal to save themselves, more importantly the difference that genetics makes in beef cattle. That Charolais breeder started taking Charolais cross cattle to the State Fair carcass competition by the semi load and graciously included me. Charolais cross cattle blew the doors off the competition. Muscle crossed with marbling. There were no EPDs or API then.
With a new found interest in cattle breeding, I started buying Charolais cross cows for my own herd, then sold them when a tour of duty in Vietnam seemed the thing to do. Lessons learned from that time in the jungle, like World War 1 and 2, war wastes not just peoples lives, also untapped Vietnam's agricultural resources that would be brought in to production when the war ended, inflation and war go hand in hand, those that don't learn their history lessons are doomed to repeat them.
In the 1970s with the diversity of European coming to North America, the promotion of large framed cattle by the show ring, CPAs promoting livestock breeding as a tax dodge, and people with more money than cow sense, it was becoming harder to find the type of cattle that had the potential to grade and yield. In a farm sale ad, a farmer included his cow herd, cows calves and bull. I'd went to possibly buy the calves, they were uniform, easy fleshing, moderate framed, the type we wanted to feed. The cows were nice, but pretty much a cross section of genetics, the bull it was easy to see where the calves got their uniformity. I bought the calves, the cows and the bull. Those calves were the first we'd ever fed, that their mothers were dropping the next calves, when the first calves were ready for market, 12 months of age. The registration on that bull came from the American Simmental Assoc.. That started an interest in Simmental, like other breeds there were Simmental genetics that were large framed, pencil gutted, that never ever ever ever could grade choice, promoted by people that had never put any selection pressure on carcass qualities.
Influential Cattle and People
After reading an ad by Arnold Bros. I appreciated the amount of information their sale catalog provided, absent the HYPE. So one could make an intelligent well informed purchasing decision. From their information it was easy to study and learn from, which sires and cow families were consistently exceeding in producing the traits we wanted in our own cattle. In addition, Arnold's cattle had produced Grand Champion Super Cow South Dakota State Fair, Won North Dakota West River Carcass contest. 5 years consecutive high gaining pen of steers South Dakota State Futurity, Grand Champion AK-SAR-BEN steer, and reserve champion heifer, Iowa Beef Processors Cutability Contest, Grand Champion Sire Group pen of Steers, along with additional awards. Years before the American Simmental Assoc. developed the 70/70 % choice yield grade program, Arnolds stated, "The aim needs to be 70% choice and all yield grade 1s and 2s". Certain Fleckvieh can do that, Arnolds were doing it with Fleckvieh as a foundation. All along Arnolds had been having their own cattle fed out and knew what Fleckvieh could do.
The search for Fleckvieh lead me to additional Fleckvieh breeders that also had their feet solidly on the ground and understood what it is that the Beef Industry needed, putting the breed ahead of their own interest.
Vernon Hoffman was called the conscience of the Simmental breed. He'd told of his Zeus bull, that he'd entered 3 steers in a carcass evaluation that had come in 1st, 2nd, and 4th. That's consistent genetics I needed, the breed needed, the beef industry needed. Vernon had Zeus heifers from a flush with an Argonne cow, I didn't know anything about the cow, but considered anyone that cared to discover carcass qualities was good enough for me, and hired a ultra sound tech to ultra sound all the heifers, purchasing the best of the group Y761. Their was no All Purpose Index at the time, today that Argonne cow, LCC Miss Argonne J 145, arguably stands at the top of all High Accuracy Fullblood Fleckvieh cows ALL PURPOSE INDEX.
Art Howell had sisters to Siegfrieds Power, we'd partnered with Art on a flush to Friedas Lady and Star Palm. Appreciating Star Palms consistent ability to reduce frame score, more efficient cows. Today Friedas Lady has a higher percentage of female decedents in the top percent of API than any other Fullblood cow only rive led by Ardrahan Fenella.
Dr. Messer also bred Fleckvieh in the spirit of German and Beef Improvement Federation performance and record keeping evaluation. When PPA's were used in the American Simmental Assoc. to rank cows, Dr. Messers cow MC Baarian Miss Y494, ranked in the top 5 of all Simmental cows, she and 2 of her daughters were in the top 75 cows. We had the great fortune to purchase 2 daughters of Siegfried and B103, a Hackenberg Jr. daughter of Y494, 93H and 94H. Their longevity and fertility continues in our program through daughters and a bank of embryos.