Farm DI Thomas Samm – Simmental cattle breeding in suckler cow husbandry

The farm

The mountain farm is situated in southern Lower Austria on the edge of the Wechsel region at an altitude of 570 m above sea level and currently has 191 mountain farm cadastral points.

The land comprises about 32 ha of permanent grassland in the form of mowing and permanent pastures and about 10 ha of forestry land. The work is done by one worker.

At present, 21 genetically hornless Simmental cows including calves and young cattle are kept on the farm.

The husbandry

During the winter months the cattle are housed in the loose housing and during the vegetation period the cattle are kept on pasture. The pastures are managed as paddock pastures.

Suckler cows coming for calving and cows with calves until successful reinsemination spend the grazing period in the form of half-day grazing, as birth and oestrus monitoring are easier in the barn.


Cattle on all-day grazing are offered only a mineral and trace element supplement. During the winter feeding period and half-day grazing, the suckler cows are fed 1 to 2 kg of grain meal per day, depending on body condition and lactation stage. This results in a balanced energy and protein balance with the result of good fertility values as well as good growth performance. The target age at first calving is 24 months.

Annual rainfall varies between 700 and 1000 mm, with uneven rainfall distribution. Therefore, both periods with sufficient moisture and dry periods with low forage yields are to be expected. Climate change increases the occurrence of extreme weather events.


In order to come closer to the set breeding goal, artificial insemination is used as an important breeding element. The possibilities of genotyping are also used in everyday breeding. On the one hand, to record the horn status and possible hereditary defects and, on the other hand, to recognise hereditary foci. 

Efficient animal observation, data collection and performance testing are the basis of successful selection.

More information on the breeding goal >>