Simmental is widely acknowledged of being introduced into Australia in the early to mid 1970’s by the late music promoter Harry M Miller. Miller purchased the Dunmore stud in in New South Wales in 1971 and after marrying a veterinarian (Wendy Paul) they established one of the largest and most reputable Simmental Studs in the country. Together they realised a number of achievements including Dunmore London Times achieving Supreme Champion at Rockhampton Beef Week in 1988, encouraging Celebrity TV personality Grahman Kennedy and Celebrity Chef Peter Russell Clarke to start Simmental Studs of their own and when exiting Simmental breeding in 1989 their sale set an Australian record for a dispersal sale.
Just like today international export/input rules and regulations made it difficult to introduce new genetics into the country and being unable to bring embryos or cattle directly into Australia Harry initially bought cattle in Germany. From that point they transported to New Zealand where embryos were collected and subsequently brought to Australia.
Many others have also made a huge contribution in bringing the breed into Australia (including from the United Kingdom as a dairy animal) and their efforts have been tremendous but it would take too long to identify them all in this article.
Interestingly while Harry was bringing Simmental into Australia something else was brewing in South Africa where Simmental had been used for a long time “pronounced Simmentaler’. Ultimately many Simmental genetics have been imported into Australia (often as Fleckvieh) from South Africa (only a few embryos due to vet regulations) given the similarities in climate and the same desired end product.
Changes to Simmental since the early days
Simmental gained popularity extremely quickly but it was later found that Simmental genetics initially imported were not quite right for the Australian market. Early animals were extremely large in size, were definitely big in muscle but somewhat short of fat and issues were experienced in calving performance.
Over time the Simmental in Australia has evolved through careful selection (genetic improvement) where it is now more moderate in size, has greatly increased calving performance and now easily lays down fat. Other more minor improvements have been made to coat type and eye pigmentation.
Find out more by contacting Nangur Simmentals.