Fleckvieh News

Fleckvieh the solution to Male calf issue

01 FEB
Monday, 01 February 2021

The every increasing male calf problem facing the dairy industry - Morning Ireland interviews with Minister for Agriculture, an animal rights campaigner and Angela Brickley of Celtic Fleckvieh herd, outlining the problem and a straightforward solution - Fleckvieh. Link to transcript:

Summer Alpine Grazing

15 JUN
Monday, 15 June 2020

Alpine grazing. Many farms in Austria and Switzerland have access to commonage in the foothills of the Alps. This land is grazed, usually by heifers and dry cows, althought sometimes still by milking cows, for about four months of the year - May, once the Snow clears until about September. Grass is scarce and re-growth slow due to high altitude, poor soil and no fertilizer, so stocking rate is usually from 0.5 to 1 animal / hectare. Each commonage is normally divided into about 3 sections, and rotational grazing practised. Cattle return home in Autumn, and these animals that have been "Alped" are renowned for having improved health and better appetites for the rest of their (longer) lives.


Calf sales started

25 FEB
Monday, 25 February 2019

2019 Cross bred bull calf sales started well today with the first 3 bulls off to Carlow mart.  Averaged Euro 353 each, for two heifers calves and one other out of a Jersey x Fleckvieh mother - all averaging under 30 days.

2017 Study Tour

19 MAY
Friday, 19 May 2017

The Celtic Sires 2017 Study tour dates are proposed for 20th to 22nd June.   The plan (subject to enough available flights) is to fly direct from Dublin to and from Munich, which is only about an hour from the Austrian border. The plan is to take an early morning flight on the Tuesday 20th June, returning late on Thursday, so only 2 nights away.  

A report of last year's tour is at the end of this notice.   Besides the business end of farm and AI station visits, we will also include some sightseeing of this very beautiful country.  Most notable about the farm visits is that they typically always involve an extended family, often with 3 generations working in harmony.  Austrian farmers work hard, but, by Irish standards, have a surprising level of technology and machinery involved, and enjoy a high standard of living.  Notable also is the absolute maximum use of the land available, with nothing going to waste, and what would be considered extremely difficult mountain farms in Ireland, producing to a very high level.

Places will be allocated on a strictly first come, first served basis, so please do notify as soon as you can, by email to info@celticsires.ie, or text or phonecall to 086. 8810719 or 087.2609851.

Celtic Sires Study Tour, Austria, 4-7 July 2016.

Tues. 5th July.


Farm 1. Daurer, Unteramt 32, 3264 Gresten.

  • Tie-in Stalls, but grazing for summer.
  • 21 Cows.  9,491 kg, 3.81 %F, 3.33% P.  
  • Cows set stocked on hill field for summer, grazed with heifers.  60% of feed is still given indoors.
  • 370 days calving interval. 

Farm 2.  Janker, Plambach 8, 3202 Gruenau.

  • Highest yielding farm in Lower Austria region in 2014 (11,187 kg, 5.04F, 3.37P)
  • 90 Cows, Deep straw & lime cubicles & slats.
  • 370 day calving interval.  1.5 straws / pregnancy.
  • 5 cuts silage, about 30% Dry matter.
  • Feed : 700 gms straw, dried hay, grass silage.
  • Max 8 kgs concentrates ( 9.5 kgs to one cow doing 60 litres / day – will do 15,000 litres)
  • Proplyene Glycol liquid at 200 mls/ cow / day , costing €1.67/ litre, from 2 wks before calving to safely in-calf. (500mls to the 60 litre cow).
  • Silage covered with clear plastic sheet (c.€55/50m x 12m roll from DLG) & then heavy duty white plastic €160. Opens and closes pit 4 times, to add new cuts, and still keeps perfect seal.
  • Dry cows go onto milking cow roughage about 2 weeks before calving and 4.5 to 5 kgs meal & 200ml Proplyene Glycol.
  • 1 vet assisted calving in 5 years, no caesarean.
  • Sells heifers in –calf.
  • Has highest index bull calf in (Austria?), at 142 index.  Hoping to sell him to AI.
  • Calves grouped together but fed in separate cubicles and locked into them for up to about an hour after feed – helps stop cross-suckling. 
  • Breeding – using a lot of Pandora and Versetto.  Uses genomic bulls on c.60% of herd.


Wed. 6th July.

Farm 3.  Fattening farm .  Auinger, Tuernberg 3, 4231 Wartberg.

  • 100 bulls / year.
  • Buys in at 170 kgs, 4-5 months old. Bought from a farm that specialise in putting together batches of calves of similar weight and age.
  • Bulls go into the old barn for the first month, to acclimatise and quarantine.  Fed there by farmer’s wife.  He does not go into this building, so as to minimise risk of him carrying any disease from the main fattening shed back to the calves.
  • When they enter the main shed, they are penned for the first month or two on rubber covered slats.
  • 11 months then to fatten to 700 – 750kgs liveweight.  Kill out to 405 Kg, 85% grade U, a few E’s and a few R’s.  Current price €3.9/Kg Carcase weight.
  • 95% pure Fleckvieh’s, a few Belgian Blue and Charolais crosses, off Fleckvieh cows.  The Blues and Charolais cost about €50/ head more, but don’t leave any more profit, because of better daily gain from Fleckvieh’s.
  • Diet is Maize silage put in daily, and mainly home produced concentrates mixed into the maize in the passage with a converted garden rotovator, and pushed in with a simple electric driven hand pusher.


Farm 4  Ratzberger, 3352 St Peter in der Au.

  • Breeder of Pandora, Heiduck and Rau. He’s a big fan of Rau.
  • Breeder of the year, 2010 and 2011.
  • Ha produced several 100,000 litre cows and a lot of show champions.
  • 47 Cows, 10,169 kg, 4.28F, 3.47P.  788 Kg solids.   Producing 600,000 litres, of which about 550,000 sold, from 47 cows, on 2.8 tons meal/head.
  • He had a lot of investment in the new shed, and in land reclaimation (very hilly), but all loans paid off now.
  • TMR feed with lucerne hay for cows. Round bale silage to heifers.
  • Excellent herd – very nice, well balanced cows. We saw a number of very nice Pandora and Rau daughters.
  • Rears all calves in Igloo’s, under an open roof.  Feeds whole milk from low cell count cows (used to pasteurise the milk from high cell count cows for them.) Milk cart for feeding cost €6,000.  Heifer calves get  4 – 5 litres/ day, bulls get as much as they’ll take, up to 15 -20 litres/ day.
  • He showed us 3 bull calves, average weight 130 kg (one was exceptional), just sold privately for fattening, at €5.30 / kg = €689/ head.  The best calf was nearly 60 kgs at birth, and drinking close to 20 litres / day by 6 wks.  All bull calves sold by 6 wks old.
  • All heifer calves have anti-sucking devices in nose – to stop sucking and also to assist in training them to lead, in preparing for Auction.
  • Sells about 40 – 45 freshly calved heifers each year in Bergland auction.  Most about €2,200, but about 5 -6 every year up to €3,000.   
  • Semen being used at the moment: Pandora, Heiduck, Rau, & number of Genomic  bulls.


Farm 5: Wimmer, Mosing 163, 4431 Haidershofen. ( 4 Generations of Family in one house)

  • 60 Cows, 10,994 kg, 4.12F, 3.4P, 827 kg solids.
  • TMR with 70% grass silage, 30% maize silage, barley, beet pulp, soya and rape pellets.  Silage is taken in 5 – 6 cuts / year.
  • Sells about 50 freshly calved heifers each year.
  • Have won a lot at shows.  Excellent herd, although some crossbreds in it also.  Three 100,000 litre cows produced to date.
  • Production cost 21 c/ l, excluding social assurance, but including wages for family labour.  Getting 25 c / l for milk at the moment.
  • Bulls in use at the moment: Versetto, Raldi, Pandora, Voltaire.

Austrian Fleckvieh: Milk and Beef !

01 DEC
Tuesday, 01 December 2015

With over 1.7 million animals, the Fleckvieh/Simmental is the most widely spread breed of cattle in Austria. Simmental/Fleckvieh can be found in intensive big-scale farms in Europe and North America, Australia or South America as well as countries where cattle on small scale farms secure the daily survival of their owners. 

Recently, great gains have been made in the genetic milk productiveness of the Fleckvieh through breed management to the point that the Fleckvieh rivals pure milk producing dairy breeds. Special value is placed on the Fleckvieh fitness characteristics including fertility, longevity, calving ease, udder health, milking speed, somatic cell count, and persistence.

A large percentage of young Fleckvieh cattle are on alpine grazing for the entire Summer months – this involves foraging on very sparse vegetation, on steep slopes, and results in good overall health and longevity.   

Breeding Index:

  • Milk 38 %
  • Beef 16 %
  • Fitness 46 %



  • Population: 1.626.105
  • Registered cows:277.579
  • Herds: 16.413
  • Share of breed: 77,7 % (7,4 % of cows on alpine grazing)



  • Live weight: 650 – 850 kg.
  • Height of the rump: 140 – 150 cm
  • First calving (months): 29,8
  • Productive life span (yrs.): 3,8



  • Fat 4,2 %
  • Protein 3,7 %
  • Milk performance 2014 (all cows): 7.473 kg - 4.15 % F - 3.43 % P (305 Days)  


Production options: 

Dairy dual purpose breed, excellent for crossing in commercial crossing for dairying. Suitable to all production and climate conditions, fertility, longevity, fit for pasture and loose housing. 

Fleckvieh cows, due to their longevity often reach their peak performance in later lactations. The high sales value of cull cows and the excellent fattening properties of male progeny offer additional sources of income. 

Guaranteed efficiency thanks to:

  • Excellent fertility: non-return rate: 72%
  • Calving intervals: 392 days
  • Low replacement rate: 21%
  • Low somatic cell count
  • Calving ease: 95,3 %
  • Live calves born: 96 %  

and ... superior beef performance! 


The importation of yellow coloured bulls from the Swiss Simmental region and cross-breeding with local red and white spotted Austrian cattle (Fleckvieh) results in a medium stature and very robust breed in various shades of colour and markings. The variety in colour is of no significance as far as usage or genetic properties are concerned. 

Foundation of the first Austrian Simmental Fleckvieh Breeding Association. 

As late as 1950
The top priority was milk, meat and work (featuring superior fitness and a good temperment as a basis for balanced breeding). 

After 1975
Milk and fitness were given increased attention while still keeping an eye on meat output. 

Introduction of the Total Merit Index as a very balanced Breeding Aim for milk, beef and fitness.