Lessons from the Sim Valley

Longtime simmental breeder Tony Thompson (pictured right) didn’t know it at the time, but his unexpected visit to the Sim Valley in Switzerland in the late 1960s would have a huge impact on his life.

In Solutions3 Minutes

As the name suggests, the Sim Valley is the original home of the Simmental breed, first imported into New Zealand in the early 1970s in a wave of exotic cattle imports.

Tony had completed his final year at the newly minted Massey College Veterinary School and headed off on a P&O round-the-world cruise with his new wife Glennis.

During a holiday break from studying equine embryology at Cambridge University, he and Glennis bought a minivan and headed for the Continent, winding their way through several countries including Switzerland.

Their visit to Sim Valley coincided with a local cattle auction and the Thompsons were able to see locally bred Simmental animals up close for the first time. When the opportunity came a few years later when imports to NZ began, they were keen to get involved, and established Glen Anthony Stud.

With 50 years of breeding Simmental cattle under his belt, he’s still passionate about the breed and misses the A & P shows and National Bull Sales events that put Glen Anthony stud front and centre with commercial and stud cattle farmers nationwide.

He’s proud of their many show and sale achievements, including countless Royal and regional show ribbons plus an enviable record from 34 years of two-year-old bull sales.

Last year’s sale was Glen Anthony’s best yet when the first eight bulls to enter the sale ring were bought by other studs, keen to access the Glen Anthony Executive bloodline.

At the rising two-year weight date, Executive was 100kg heavier than his contemporaries and his eye muscle area was about a third bigger than the average at 130 square centimetres.

“So, we kept him and bred from him. His carcase data was really good and when used over our Waiata cows, it was a match made in heaven.”

In the past few years, Tony has been importing and using semen from two homozygous polled bulls from North America.

The 2023 sale will feature the first line of bulls bred from a Canadian sire, Grinaltas HP Sensation, to be sold in NZ.

He’s also impressed by the yearling progeny he’s bred from semen from a United States bull, Saint John Gatton, which will be offered at the 2024 sale.

“His yearlings are looking magnificent so buyers will have plenty to consider in the coming years from Glen Anthony.”

  • Glen Anthony Bull Sale, June 8 2023.