Commercial producers are re-discovering The Fleckvieh Advantage.  Why? What do Fleckvieh cattle have to offer today’s beef industry?

Maternal Cattle
Fleckvieh are maternal-factor beef cattle, making superior replacement females. Their maternal ability lies deep, from nearly two centuries of selective breeding in Europe as dual-purpose cattle, then as functional brood cows in North America. Fleckvieh females have well-suspended, balanced udders with small teats. They give plenty of milk for higher weaning weights. They mature early, have excellent fertility, and because they are easier-keeping have increased longevity.

Real-world Cattle
Fleckvieh are moderate-framed, middle-of-the-road cattle with abundant rib, capacity and volume. Because of their natural fleshing ability and thickness, they readily thrive on grass and roughage without expensive grains, and better tolerate stress and harsh conditions.

Beef Cattle
The end product is always beef. Fleckvieh excel in the feedlot and on the rail. They grow rapidly, to an early maturity. They’re not big-framed cattle, but have the power to grow pounds of beef in their length, depth, volume and muscle. The Fleckvieh steer will pack on extra muscle to yield well, and harvest a choice carcass at 13-15 months. And with his natural fleshing ability (inherited from his mom) he will require less high-cost grain to do so.

Management Traits
No one wants cattle that are hard to handle. Fleckvieh are by nature docile. No one wants to pull calves or bang up their first-calf heifers. Fleckvieh birth weights make calving manageable; yet the calf will grow. No one wants to dehorn, stressing the cattle and making for more work. The infusion of mutation polled genes into Fleckvieh solves that management problem too.

Color - a Fleckvieh Advantage
We’ve come to call Fleckvieh sires, “the better baldy-builders.” Why? Bull customers who breed their own replacement females now often ask for some white! They know the value of superior Fleck-baldy females, and that it takes some white genes over their predominantly Angus-based females to create them.  Through decades of selection, Fleckvieh cattle now have very little body-white. They usually have some white on their face, which when crossbred creates the “better baldy” in color. Most Fleckvieh have eye pigment known as “goggles” to protect from sun damage. And today, by generations of persistent selection, there are even completely red Fullblood Fleckvieh cattle.

Hybrid Vigor - a Fullblood Advantage
Hybrid vigor is maximized when crossing one pure breed with another. When non-identical genes from each parent are joined in the chromosomes of the calf, a “boost” in vigor called heterosis results. Fullblood Fleckvieh cattle maximize heterosis when crossed with other breeds of cattle (unlike composite or purebred cattle which contain genes from the breeds our Simmental sires are used on). In addition, the moderate, functional traits sought in composite cattle are already present in Fleckvieh cattle, without the need to sacrifice hybrid vigor to attain them.

History of Fleckvieh Cattle
Simmental cattle originated as early as the 13th century in the Swiss Alps, taking centuries to become a distinct breed. In 1830 these Swiss cattle, noted for their milk production and size as draft animals, were imported into Germany and Austria to improve local dual-purpose breeds. In 1920, after nearly a century of selection as dual-purpose milk/beef cattle, the German herdbook was closed, and Fleckvieh (German for “Spotted Cattle”) became an independent breed. A strict government breeding program of testing and limited registrations created a middle-of-the-road animal with more depth, natural muscling and fleshing ability than its other European cousins.

Simmental cattle were imported to North America beginning in 1968 to add size to the miniaturized cattle of the 1940’s and 1950’s. As the pendulum swung to the over-size and under-capacity cattle of the 1970’s and early 1980’s, the draft- and dairy-bred Simmental cattle of France and Switzerland dominated. But in the late 1980’s, when more useful, practical traits were sought, breeders began using Fleckvieh genetics to moderate frame size and to add muscling, volume and easier fleshing ability. Fleckvieh cattle from the herdbooks of Germany and Austria that had been selected distinctly for 150 years as moderate, maternal-factor beef cattle, became widely recognized for their ability to function profitably in the North American beef industry.

Fleckvieh cattle have adapted well to the North American environment and changing demands of the marketplace. They have the genetic depth and strength to change the cattle they’re mated to, to their moderate, useful type. Today Fleckvieh cattle are the world’s second most numerous breed, second only to bos indicus. They have earned an important place in beef cattle history, “the hard way.”

Jeff Sorenson
S/M Fleckvieh Cattle

S/M Fleckvieh Cattle
Jeff and Siri Sorenson
48186 257th Street
Garretson, South Dakota 57030
605-359-8728 or 605-594-3789