Swiss Performance
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Whatever happened to dual-purpose?

The following data is taken from various sources to show how the Swiss breeders have tried to improve the beef characteristics over time in the Original breed.  What must be remembered is that in 1934 the emphasis was on a dual purpose animal, then in 1971 that emphasis was changing to be for a milk only animal.   In 1993 they noticed that the beef characteristics were gone and they needed to change their focus again.  Therefore they set some standards that they were attempting to meet.   In 2000 we see how far they still have to go to meet these standards.

What is the most interesting is that the average yield percentages in the year 2000 are below what they were in 66 years earlier!!!  This goes to show you that the Swiss Braunvieh animals have been selected for high milk yield only at the expense of the beef characteristic.

Meanwhile in Canada....

In Canada, on the other hand we started in 1969 with the best dual purpose animals available to us and have continued to select for dual purpose for over 30 years.  Take a look here and see for yourself what a difference this has made.  In 1969 we had performance that is better than what the Swiss breeders have today!

Here is what happened In Switzerland...

Hektor Born 1891Ringo Born 1990s

Born 1891 Hektor 148 cm at 3.5 years                 Born 1990s Ringo 5 years of age.

1934 Steer feeding test results

In 1934 a test was conducted by the Agricultural School in Liebenfeld-Bern, recorded by J. Landis, entitled "Mastversuche mit Rindern und Ochsen unter besondereer Berucksichtigung der Jungviehmast 2. Mitteilung". The test results are recorded in the book, Landwirtschaftliches Jahrbuch der Schweiz, (Bern), 1936. The English translation of the title is "Beef test for heifers and steers with special regard to young animal feeding, second bulletin". Here are the results.

Ave Weight At Start Of Test  62.4kg  137.28lb
Ave Weight At End Of Test  478.0kg  1051.6lb 
Ave Total Weight Gained 415.6kg  914.32lb
Ave Daily Gain in Test 0.85kg  1.87lb
Average age at start of test 60 days  
Length of test 491 days  

Table 1. Feeding test results

Animal Age (months) Live weight (kg) Live weight (lb) Dead weight (kg) Dead weight (lb) Yield (%)
Steer #1 17  435  957  244  537  56.1
Steer #2 20  554  1219  292  642  52.7

Table 2. Slaughter results
Information from: W. Engeler, "Das Schweizerische Braunvieh" (Frauenfeld, Switzerland: Verlag Huber & Co.) 1947, p. 136.

1971 Breeding Bull market results from Zug

In 1971 at the Bull market in Zug, actual weight and height measurements were taken.   The averages were recorded in the official Braunvieh magazine "Mitteilungen 1/1972. page 93."  Here are the results:

  Bulls Cows
Average wither height 143.5 cm 56.5 inches 131.3 cm 51.7 inches
Average girth 235 cm 92.5 inches 197 cm 89.5 inches
Average weight 1006 kg 2213 lb 604 kg 1329 lb

Table 3. Average measurements and weights of all adult bulls and cows in the herdbook in 1971

  Average weight per day of age
average up to 9 months 1070 g 2.35 lb
average up to12 months 1020 g 2.24 lb
average up to 15 months 1000 g 2.20 lb

Table 4. Average weight per day of age of all young bulls at Zug bull market 1971
Information from: Mitteilungen 1/1972, p. 93

1993 Original Braunvieh Ideal Goals

In 1993 the Braunvieh breeders noticed that the beef performance of their animals had fallen to pre-war levels.  They decided to set some breed goals for the Original dual-purpose animals.  These goals are listed here.   What must be remembered is that these values are not what they have attained but rather what they would like to attain.  The information is excerpted from the May/June 1993 issue of the Schweizer Braunvieh magazine.

2000 Feeding test results

In the publication "Original Züchter Nummer 38/Juni 2000 on page 20 are the results of the feeding test of 206 animals.  (Note the table in the publication has an error in the total animals.)  Here are the results:

Number of Animals Market Grade

Daily Gain while on test

Yield (%)

2 C3    (Excellent) 1353 g 2.98 lb 59.0
51 H3 1238 g 2.72 lb 55.8
1 H2 1100 g 2.42 lb 53.9
1 T4 (Medium) 1208 g 2.66 lb 53.1
72 +T3 1196 g 2.63 lb 54.8
60 T3 1175 g 2.59 lb 53.7
5 -T3 1070 g 2.35 lb 53.0
11 T2 1191 g 2.62 lb 53.4
3 -T2      (Poor) 1158 g 2.55 lb 52.8
  Average 1198 g 2.64 lb 54.7

Table 5. Feed and slaughter information of Original Braunvieh bulls in 2000
Information from: Original Züchter Nummer 38/Juni 2000, page 20

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