ASA was well represented at this year's convention, with both the newly elected chairman (Tracy Brunner) and chairman elect (Craig Uden) of NCBA having deep roots in SimmGenetics.  Additionally, the newly minted chairman elect of the American National Cattlewoman's Association (Penny Zimmerman) is the wife of ASA employee and long-time Simmental breeder Bill Zimmerman. 
ASA, along with several of our International Genetic Solutions (IGS) partners, set up shop in adjacent booths on a prime location, with the IGS banner prominently displayed overhead.  The unprecedented show of breed association solidarity for the benefit of the cattle industry was seen as a positive sign for the beef industry by convention attendees.  

Early Report on MARC Research

The USDA Office of Inspector General has issued a preliminary report after a New York Times article contained statements regarding animal care and mortality rates at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (MARC) in Clay Center, NE.
A review team identified 33 statements from the article for evaluation and accuracy. The fieldwork was performed at MARC, reviewed available Agriculture research Service (ARS) and University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) documentation. A final report will be issued at a time to be determined.

For the past two and a half years, the American Simmental Association has been working with Dr. Jon Beever from the University of Illinois on a specific genetic condition called oculocutaneous hypopigmentation or OH. Animals with OH have uniformly light colored irises coupled with an unusual chocolate coat color. This is not a lethal condition. In fact, the effects of OH seem to be mainly cosmetic. OH is a simple recessive trait meaning an animal must inherit two copies of the mutation to display the trait.

Recently Dr. Beever has found the causative mutation and developed a diagnostic test for OH. Using this diagnostic, an archive of ~245 SimGenetic bulls were tested for OH. The incidence of this particular mutation is very low in the Simmental animals screened to date. The mutation can be traced back to an Angus bull, Sir WMS Warrant, which was likely misdiagnosed as a heterochromia irides HI carrier. Although this mutation possibly originated from the Angus breed, out of over 1,300 Angus animals tested, only one (Sir WMS Warrant) has been identified as a carrier of OH.

Due to the non-lethal nature of this condition and the low frequency of the mutation in the Simmental population, the ASA will not require any testing for the trait. The ASA will add OH to TraitTrac and OH test results will populate the pedigrees similar to other traits. This genetic trait will be treated the same as other largely cosmetic traits like coat color and horned/polled.

GeneSeek has included the marker for OH on the next generation of GGP bovine chip assays. As soon as GeneSeek launches the next GGP-HD and GGP-LD testing, ASA members will have access to these test results. Until that time, individual animals may be tested through Dr. Jonathan Beever at the University of Illinois (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 217-333-4194).

Oculocutaneous Hypopigmentation (OH)

Dr. Jon Beever, University of Illinois,
November, 2015
In the spring of 2012, the American Simmental Association (ASA) received an abnormality report indicating the occurrence of a newborn calf with "white-colored" eyes and a diluted hair coat (see picture at right). All the appropriate DNA samples were collected, used for the validation of parentage, and archived for future reference. Over the next two years, three additional calves were reported to the ASA with similar characteristics. Based on the recurrence of this trait, an investigation was initiated to establish whether the condition was genetic. DNA samples collected from the four affected calves were genotyped using the Neogen GGP-HD. The resulting genotypes were analyzed in contrast to the genotypes of ~80 Simmental sires. This analysis showed clear evidence that the condition is inherited as a recessive trait. Based on hese results, the DNA sequence for several genes was analyzed in each of the affected calves. Within one of these genes, a mutation was identified that is predicted to impair the function of the encoded protein. In fact, in mice, mutations within the same gene cause a very similar condition that is referred to as "chocolate", where black mice have a diluted coat color and beige-colored irises (or irides).

Further investigation, including the genotyping of frequently used sires, indicates the mutation is present at a relatively low frequency in the Simmental population. This is consistent with the very low frequency of affected calves reported over the three year period. Examination of carrier pedigrees reveals the Simmental bull, PVF-BF BF26 BLACK JOKER (ASA #1930631), as the most popular recent ancestor with DNA available for testing. However, several of the genotyped carriers do not have this sire in their pedigrees indicating the mutation could be significantly older. Considering this information and the prior description of similar traits in other breeds, namely heterochromia irides (HI) in Angus cattle, the possible origin of this mutation was investigated by obtaining samples from known HI carriers. Although there are very few DNA samples available from these older animals, a sample was obtained for the Angus sire SIR WMS WARRANT (AAA #9196894). Indeed, WARRANT was found to be a carrier of this newly identified mutation. Therefore, it is most likely that the mutation was introduced into the Simmental population by the use of Angus cattle during the development of black purebreds. The subsequent screening of more than 1,200 Angus sires indicates the mutation has most likely been eliminated from the current Angus population via pedigree selection in the early 1980s.

Based on these data, the scientific literature was reviewed in an effort to understand if there were documented features that clearly distinguish between the oculocutaneous hypopigmentation (OH) and heterochromia irides (HI) traits, both of which had been previously described. It is our opinion that the characteristics displayed by these affected Simmental calves is more representative of OH than it is of HI. Additionally, examination of the human and mouse literature also supports this designation. Thus, we suggest that if both phenotypes exist in the cattle population, WARRANT should be designated as an OH carrier. Further screening of current descendants of Angus HI carriers is being conducted but has not identified any additional carriers of this mutation within the Angus population.

Information contained in reports and literature from the 70s and 80s, and in these current Simmental cases, indicate that this abnormal phenotype has little or no effect on the viability or performance of affected individuals. However, in some cases, a possible sensitivity to light has been reported. Thus, we suggest this mutation be monitored similarly to other non-lethal traits such as coat color or horned/polled. As with any recessive condition, breeders can avoid the appearance of affected calves by restricting matings between carrier animals.

ASA Sale Reports

SAN DIEGO, CALIF. (January 30, 2016) - The 2016 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show wrapped up Sat., Jan 30, 2016, with the NCBA board of directors meeting. More than 6,700 attended this year's convention to engage in grassroots policy process, hear from industry experts, and attend the expansive tradeshow. Tracy Brunner, Kansas cattle producer, was officially elected to succeed Philip Ellis as NCBA president.
Brunner, a fourth-generation cattleman from Ramona, Kan., expressed optimism about the organization's momentum, saying he would continue to build on the organization's success of the prior year.
It's an honor to take the reins of NCBA for the next year," said Brunner. "We have a great organization and the strong presence of cattlemen and women gathered this week is a demonstration of several things: the interest we have in improving our businesses, our desire to have fun and fellowship, our belief in the power of dialog to move things forward and our commitment to making this an even greater industry."
Craig Uden, Elwood, Neb., was elected as NCBA president-elect, and Kevin Kester, Parkfield, Calif., is the new NCBA vice president. Steve Hanson, Elsie, Neb., was elected chairman of the NCBA Federation Division, and Jerry Effertz, Velva, North Dakota., is the new Federation vice chairman. The new NCBA Policy Division chairman is Jennifer Houston of Sweetwater, Tenn., and Joe Guild, Reno, Nev., is the new policy vice chairman.
 "The American beef industry is stronger than it has ever been," said Brunner. "We have the right people growing the right product in the right way. And, we have the right organizational culture and structure. We have promotion and advocacy; research and education. We have public policy efforts to ensure beef producers are represented in the halls of Congress and at the table as laws are made. We are committed to not only protecting and promoting the beef business of today, but even more importantly, the beef business of tomorrow. We have an exciting year ahead as international demand for American beef continues to rise and trade remains high priority. It's a great time to be in the beef business and a part of this great organization."
As president of NCBA, Brunner will lead the organization's policy work and oversee efforts undertaken as a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. To learn more about the organization visit the website:








Video Presentations

 Understanding the Genetic Model  EPDs in Cowboy Language - Wade shafer



Improving Profit via Genetics - Dr. Wade Shafer




From Phenotypes to EPDs The Genetic Model - Dr. Wade Shafer



Calving Season Preparation - Dr.  Robert Bellows


Dr. Robert G. Mortimer-Calving Assistance and Strategies








Ultrasound Certification and Data Submission Requirements

Certification Requirements:  Ultrasound measurement provides an effective means to improve the accuracy of your carcass EPDs.  If you don’t submit your data to the ASA, however, it is essentially of no value for genetic evaluation and improvement.  If you spend money to ultrasound you might as well get your data collected in the manner required for submission to the ASA.

The ASA requires that all ultrasound data be collected by an Ultrasound Guidelines Council (UGC) Certified Field Technician and read by a UGC Certified Interpreter - usually a lab technician.  This can be accomplished by selecting a UGC certified field technician that submits their images to a centralized processing lab for interpretation.  The lab then forwards the results to the ASA.  The ASA also accepts data directly from technicians who are UGA certified to both scan and interpret.

UGC Certified Field Technicians
UGC Centralized Ultrasound Processing Labs
UGC website 

ASA Ultrasound Age range is from 270-500 days for both males and females.

Data Submission Requirements: Your technician will require an ASA generated list (barnsheet) of the animals you plan to have processed prior to scanning them.  Barnsheets can be obtained by logging onto your Herdbook account and clicking on the barnsheet icon (under the My Herd category).  Several options are then available to sort the animals you plan to have scanned onto your barnsheet.  When the appropriate animals to be scanned are stored, you can print a copy of the barnsheet for yourself as well as electronically submit a copy to the processing lab of your choice.  Animals must be on file with the ASA to appear on your barnsheet.

For Ultrasound Data to process accurately the following needs to be considered:

  • ASA must have weaning data on file in order to get adjusted ultrasound calculations.

  • Animals have to be contemporaries at weaning in order to be contemporaries at ultrasound.

  • Animals outside of the age range (270-500 days) for ultrasound will not get ultrasound adjustments.

  • A twin will be grouped by itself at ultrasound, same as other traits.



Following are testimonials from several breeders who have been actively pursuing Performance Advocate status for their herds.

After six years, ASA’s Performance Advocate (PA) program, which recognizes those breeders who consistently submit perfor mance data on six different traits, continues to expand. In the first year, a single breeder reached a perfect score of 600. During the second year, perfect scores expanded to eight breeders, to 13 breeders after three years, 19 after four years, 23 after five years. The current listing shows 29 per fect scores.
In addition, 64 other breeders recorded scores between 500 and 599. The six traits, for which all data must be reported, are: calving ease, birth
weight, weaning weight, yearling weight, yearling hip height and ultrasound. The maximum score for each of the six traits is 100, with the PA score calculated as the sum of the scores for each trait.  PA scores listed in this issue are for the Fall, 2013 and Spring, 2014 calf crops.


R.A. Brown Ranch, Throckmorton, TX

The R.A. Brown Ranch is a progressive family ranching business that has an excellent reputation for producing some of the most superior cattle and Quarter Horses in the business. The ranch was established in 1895, and is now in its fifth generation under the direction of Donnell and Kelli Brown in Throckmorton, TX. The R.A. Brown Ranch raises, develops and sells 600 SimAngus™, Angus and Red Angus bulls plus several horses for their annual production sale on the second Wednesday of each October. The R.A. Brown Ranch has been in the SimGenetics business and involved in its leadership since the beginning. With ASA #79 they have registered cattle every year.  Rob Brown, Donnell’s father served on the ASA board for many years and as president in 1974. Donnell currently serves as Chairman of the ASA/RAAA joint Technical Advancement Committee. The ranch may be best known for their unique way of testing bulls for performance and efficiency, while developing them for longevity on the rocky hills of northwest Texas.  The number one goal of the R.A. Brown Ranch is to improve the profitability and sustainability of their commercial customers. Their mission statement says, “We are continually striving to improve the efficiency of converting God’s forage into safe, nutritious and great tasting beef to better feed His people.”


Driggers Simmental Farm, Glennville, GA 

Driggers Simmental Farm is a small cattle operation, located in Southeastern Georgia, about 60 miles west of Savannah. Our breeding program concentrates on producing Simmental and SimAngus™ bulls for commercial cattle operations. Though our operation is not big in scale, it is big on the belief that data must be collected and passed along to the American Simmental Association on each and every cow and calf in our herd.
Driggers Simmental Farm has always been about improving performance of cattle. They believe that unless you track performance of individual animals in your herd and make diligent use of that data, your program will never move forward and will never offer your bull buying customers seedstock that can help improve their bottom line.

We believe that skillful use of EPDs and Performance Indexes by conscientious ASA members have been the driving force in making Simmental Cattle a major player in the beef industry today. What has made the EPDs and indexes such a powerful tool is the reliable phenotypic data that is turned into the ASA on each calf crop. Without accurate and reliable data on each and every animal in your herd, EPDs and indexes can’t project a true picture of an individual animal.  When a prospective bull buyer looks at a sale catalog, we want them to get a true and accurate picture of what they are looking at and how that animal can improve their bottom line. Ultimately, the beef consumer is the winner in all this data collection. It helps to make sure that each and every beef purchase will result in an enjoyable eating experience and keep beef on the tables of  U.S. consumers.


Ellingson Simmentals, Dahlen, ND

Ellingson Simmentals was established in 1990, by Terry Ellingson and his father, Trueman.  We are a diversified farming operation, raising wheat, barley, pinto beans and corn along with our cattle. We are located in northeastern North Dakota, halfway between Grand Forks and
Devils Lake.

Through the use of embryo transfer and artificial insemination, the herd has grown to 120 purebred cows of both black and red color.
Our goal has always been to produce high performance cattle with calving ease, high carcass traits and balanced EPDs.  The Performance Advocate program has allowed us to focus on specific traits to improve our herd. Through the use of performance records, ultrasound, and DNA testing, we strive to provide our customers with the most data possible when purchasing breeding stock at our production sale on the third Saturday in February. We have found that the ultrasound data collected on our heifers has proven to be as important as the data from the bull calves.  Because of our focus on performance data, several bulls we have raised have had national impact on the breed including Ellingson
Legacy M229 “Olie”, Ellingson Dominator W905, Ellingson Black Perfector, Ellingson Klondike Y123 and Ellingson Ideal X13.


Salinas Farms, Marion, MI

Salinas Farms is located five miles south of Marion in North Central Michigan. Three generations work together: Andres and Doris, Andy and Lynn
and our son, Andrew. We are proud members of Allied Genetic Resources, Great Lakes Beef Connection Bull Sale, Value by Design Female Sale and New Day Genetics Bull Sale. We enjoy the partnerships we share with JC Simmentals and J Bar J Ranch in these ventures and the comraderie with the Miller and Zinser families. Our herd size is around 175. We market a potload of feeder calves in the fall through Superior Livestock Auction in addition to the bulls and bred heifers we sell.  We raise hay, wheat, soybeans and corn. 

It is important to us to collect accurate data on our cattle and have found ASA’s THE program to be a great way to manage the data in
addition to our Cow Sense Management Program.  The data is input into the Cow Sense program and then uploaded to the ASA to prevent
double entry. There is always a little cleanup to do as twins don’t transfer very well and are entered manually. The ASA system and reports that we generate assist us in making more informed decisions regarding the improvement of operation. It is our goal to provide cattle to the industry that excel in calving ease, maternal efficiency and carcass traits.


Dearmon Fork Farms, Millry, AL

Dearmon Fork Farms (DFF) is truly a family business owned and operated by Ethan Dearmon, with help from his wife, Cindy, mother Myron and several part-time farm hands including grandkids Neilan and Riley Kate. Located in Washington County in southwest Alabama, DFF was originally a commercial operation until 2007, when Ethan purchased his first three registered Simmental heifers from Jamie McConnell at Sunshine Farms, Clanton, AL. The herd now consists of registered Simmental, SimAngus™, Angus and a small number of commercial cows.  Their production design utilizes A.I. with the 7-day co-synch protocol.  Strong emphasis is placed on planned mating with data collection and comparison. This formula delivers high performance calves with optimum expectations and creates the ability to consistently improve herd genetics. With 70 to 80% early season calves, it also allows a desirable selection for replacement heifers and seedstock bulls. The success of this work was evident at the 2014 Southern Excellence sale with DFF Big Eye A20, ASA #2846869 being the top selling SimAngus bull, sold to Tom Nelson of Wibaux, MT, and currently partnered with Whelan Farms and DFF. Big Eye A20 ranks in the top 30% for weaning and milk; top 25% for yearling; top 20% CE, $API, $TI and marbling; top 2% REA and is enrolled in the carcass merit program.  This bull is an excellent example of the farm’s goal to produce quality cattle with sound genetics.  During the past eight years, Ethan and his family have worked hard and spent long hours researching, planning and relying on experience and knowledge of cattle to develop an improved herd base from farmraised calves. Everyone at Dearmon Fork Farms loves farm life and enjoys seeing the new calves hit the ground growing.

Water’s Edge Farm, Franklin, TN

Water’s Edge Farm is a seedstock cattle operation situated in the rolling hills near historic Leiper’s Fork located just outside Franklin, about thirty minutes south of Nashville. It is owned by Sam and Leslie Lynch, with Chris Martin as farm manager. Since 2010, the focus of the breeding program has been to create production-oriented, black baldy SimAngus cattle utilizing top Angus and Simmental genetics.  Both artificial insemination and embryo transfer are utilized along with natural service using our herd sire, Gibbs 1084Y Tux & Tails. Performance measures are
collected through the American Simmental Association’s Total Herd Enrollment program, and all registered Angus females are also enrolled in AHIR through the American Angus Association.

Cattle are marketed by private treaty as well as through participation in the Martin Farms Open House at the Farm production sale each
September and Tennessee Simmental Association-sanctioned sales, including the Tennessee Fall Showcase Sale and the Tennessee Beef Agribition.  Bulls have been tested and marketed through the University of Tennessee Experiment Station and the Alabama BCIA test at Cullman,
Alabama, and ten bulls are currently being fed in western Missouri through New Day Genetics.  Water’s Edge is planning an inaugural production
sale, Black Tie & Blue Jeans Sale, to be held at the farm April 30, 2016.


Allen’s 5X Ranch, Armstrong, IL

The Allen Family Farm, Six Bar R, membership number 4895, was established in the early 1970s. Over the years it has branched out to KA Cattle, AKA Livestock, and Allen’s 5X. Part of the original herd remains in the family today. Some of the successes of the family — 1981 6 Bar
R Signals Image National Champion Simmental Bull; 2005 Ron Allen was named Illinios Pioneer Breeder; 2006 WHCC Angels Dream National Champion Female in Denver; 2010 KA Shamoo was named National Champion Female in Denver, 2013. A daughter of Angels Dream, KA Dream Come True (Dreams), was National Bred and Owned Champion and Reserve Grand Champion overall, 2012, 2013, 2015 Rick Hafner Supreme Champion Individual at Illinois State Fair; 2012 Purchased Infamous One Eyed Jack. For the last 30 years, the Allen Family has been breeding
Simmental cattle, strongly believing in cow families and accurate weights and dates. Roger Allen served on the original PTP Committee, believing strongly in the THE Program. Roger has also judged several State Fairs, Junior Regionals and National Shows.  Over time we have seen a lot of changes in the Simmental Breed. Today, the Allens farm includes more than 2,000 acres, runs approximately 200 commercial cows, focusing on a few select donors and embryo transplants, a 5,000-head feedlot, and a meat-processing plant. Six Bar R and AKA Livestock are looking forward to their first on-line show cattle sale October 20, 2015. One thing remains the same: Simmentals are here to stay.

South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD

The South Dakota State University Cow-Calf Research and Education Unit (CCREU) plays a key role in serving the needs of students and beef cattle producers in South Dakota and across the region. Students enrolled in numerous courses in the Department of Animal Science
have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in beef cattle production at the facility. In addition to courses, cattle from the CCREU are also used for the SDSU Little International, various 4-H and FFA activities, and Extension field days. Cattle produced at the CCREU are also integral to the research conducted by SDSU faculty and students. In 2016, the CCREU will be moving into a new, state-of-the-art facility just northwest of campus. The new facility will strengthen SDSU’s rank among the top universities in beef cattle teaching and research. Construction of the new
facility is currently underway and is scheduled for completion in December of 2015.  The CCREU calves approximately 110 Angus and SimAngus™
females annually. For decades, selection at the CCREU has focused on producing high-performance, functional cattle that fit in both seedstock and commercial operations. Recently, SDSU has produced three bulls that are now available through national semen suppliers. S D S Graduate 006X, S D S Alumni 115X, and S D S In Force 112Y have made significant impacts on the beef industry. (information provided by Dr. Cody Wright.)








 Economic Traits Simmental Ranking Among Continental Breeds                  Angus Ranking Among British Breeds
 Calving Ease        First (Tie)  First
 Weaning Weight  First  First
 Percent Choice  First  Second
 Carcass Weight  First  First
 Post Wean Gain  First  First
 Pounds of Retail Product  Second  First
 Shear Force  First (Tie)  First
 Feed Efficiency by Weight Gain  First  Second
 Feed Efficiency by Marbling  First  First
 Feed Efficiency by Retail   Product  First  Second
 Feed Efficiency by Days  Second  Second
 Percent Puberty  First  Second
 Percent Pregnancy  Second  Third
 Maternal Calving Ease  First  Second
 Maternal Weaning Weight  Second  First 
Content copyright 2015 2009-2011. White Pearl Simmentals. All rights reserved.
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