? for those with Simmentals

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May 29, 2009
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Miami Florida (Soon to be Southeast Georiga)
In Europe Simmentals are a dual purpose breed. I've read a lot, however would like some opinions from real people. Would your Simmental cows make an ok family milk cow? Mention milk cow and all the Jersey folks jump in telling you how great they are. I don't want a Jersey!! Also don't want 8 gallons of milk a day. Don't care about how much butterfat, ect. Have a neighbor that raises Simmentals. His pasture adjoins my property. I'm sure he would sell me a couple of heifers or cows. Also open to other common breeds, really like the way the udders look on a Hereford. Looked at the Dexters; however they want way too much money for them. Just want a plain good old cow. I know that people have had milk cows for hundreds of years, and not all of them were purebred this or that with these milking awards and such.
Any input? Thanks Daniel
The Fleckviehs are crossed with lots of success with holstein and jersey here to make a more robust grazing animal. The F1 cross has a higher production on pasture than the straight holstein in various studies performed here.
If this is your requirement, then almost any breed will do fine, and a cow like a simmenthal will raise a lot of calf at the same time.
It is quite addictive to have a household cow!
Buy a heifer from your neighbor and breed her to a dairy Fleckvieh (German Simmental). Unless he has some older bloodlines I think you would be disappointed with the American bred simmis for milk or disposition as a family cow. There are plenty of places you can order semen from just make sure they are dairy-bred not beef. You cam PM me if you want some sources. Depending on where you are some of the bull studs might be able to hook you up with a dairy that is using dairy Fleckvieh for crossbreeding and get a calf from them.
I don't know your experience with dairy cattle, but actually, Jersey cows are very smart. I don't know where you got the idea that the brains have been bred out of them. They have personalities too.
Generally they are a quiet and gentle cow. We've taken ours to schools for farm days for years. However recently we did have one that was an obnoxious hateful cow. I think that she was the exception to the rule. There is a reason that Jerseys are considered to be desirable for a family cow. However a good Jersey will not be cheap. I paid $500. for our daughter's cow Star as a weanling.

Not all dairy cattle give 8 gallons of milk a day. Dairies cull cows that do not produce enough to keep in the milking string. A decent grade Jersey cow can sell for $1000 to $1500.

However since you do not want a dairy breed per se, you might want to look into milking shorthorns.

A friend tried to milk her daughter's Gelvieh. She didn't have enough milk to feed both the family and her calf. We have had Simmental x Jersey crosses. The steers were tasty and we sold the heifers for a premium. Now if you want to talk about stupid. Some of the beef breeds are not the brightest crayons in the box.

I realize that you do not want a Jersey, but don't say they are something that they are not. My husband grew up on a Jersey dairy, my grandfather had a Jersey dairy, and I've owned Jersey family cows for over 30 years. My BIL has a Holstein dairy. I don't really like Holsteins.

This is Cookie our latest calf. She's a Jersey
Her mother gives about 4 gallons a day. Her production is down now because of the heat. We make butter, cottage cheese and feed the extra to the dogs and chickens. When the weather is cooler we feed out a hog or two with it. I figure that if you are going to have a family cow, it might as well be a pretty one.

The American bred Simmental still have plenty of milk. Still more than other beef breeds. Our fullblood breedings actually had too much milk to be raised in a beef program.
You are correct. You should be able to raise out the heifers, calve them and get your household milk. Most cattle are what you make of them - temperament wise. I have bus loads arrive & walk thru our pastures. Our cows may pick their heads up from eating - or might lick their boots - all purebred Simmental.
You would want to start halter breaking & gentling them as soon as you get them. Before calving, you'll know if they fit your program.
I know a Tarentaise breeder who started milking some of their cows. Left the calf on the cow, just "stole" milk once a day from a cow or two who would allow it. She made cheese, butter, etc., really liked getting the fresh milk. Don't see any reason why that wouldn't work with Simmental, too, if that's the breed you have your heart set on. And by just taking the extra milk and leaving the calf on the cow, you relieve yourself of the responsibility of HAVING to milk a cow twice a day, 7 days a week.
Jeanne and MO_COWS, thanks for replies. This is the type of information that I"m looking for. Simmentals would be easy because of my neighbors herd. He could take care of breeding, ect for me. I have nothing against Dairy breeds, just too much milk for me, and they always look too skinny. Want pets as much as milk, just a hobby.

Dun may be right. You can put a goat on 1/4 of an acre and get all the milk you need. Some dairy goat can produce up to 2 gallons a day. With twins on her, you can still get the half gallon you need.

If I were going to get a dual purpose cow, I would probably go with a Red poll, or at least something smaller than a simmental, but that's just me. You can also buy crosses, like jerseyxAngus, which will produce more milk than the angus, but not so much as a regular dairy cow.

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