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The Simbra breed is one of the numerically strongest, largest and most popular breeds of cattle in Southern Africa. This is a remarkable achievement in view of the fact that the breed has only been registered in Southern Africa for a relatively short period of time. Although American breeders have worked on the Simbra idea since 1960, the Simmentaler Society only decided in 1985/1986 to develop the Simbra concept. Simbra was only declared a developing breed in the Government Gazette on 11 December 1987. The popularity and performance of the Simbra can be attributed to various reasons.

Most synthetic breeds are raised from specific base breeds and has a system for upgrading. Occasionally, a synthetic breed has a system without specific base breeds, or the choice of base breeds was not fully considered. In some cases hybridisation occurs. Consequently, results do not always meet expectations. In the case of Simbra, however, the choice of base breeds was well considered, an effective system was established and it is driven by a dynamic and independent Society.

The choice of base breeds are extremely important in the development of a synthetic breed. These breeds must be numerically strong in order to enhance selection possibilities. A broad inner breed gene pool will ensure enough variation to select the right animals for a specific purpose and environment. The base breeds must differ widely to maximally utilise heterosis. The breeds must be able to compliment and supplement each other over a wide range of characteristics. The choice of Simmentaler and Brahman as the base breeds for the Simbra satisfy these requirements.

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