Born the son of a physician near Neu Ulm, Germany, Ludwig Simmet’s innate love and respect for animals was nurtured from infancy by his parents. Driven by his close relationship to animals and his fondness for country living, Dr. Simmet studied at the Veterinary School of the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich (LMU) where he received his doctorate degree in veterinary medicine in 1953. In the same year, Dr. Simmet was one of the first few veterinarians who officially qualified as a “Specialist DVM for Artificial Insemination” under Prof. Baier at the LMU in Munich. From that time, the events and doors of opportunity that opened laid the foundation for Dr. Simmet to become an influential leader and pioneer in the development of the artificial insemination industry.
For the next 11 years Dr. Simmet worked as a practicing veterinarian. During that time he provided veterinary consultation and management of an AI centre in Pocking, Germany. In 1964 Dr. Simmet sold his veterinary practice and took on a fulltime position at the Niederbayerische Besamungsgenossenschaft Landshut-Pocking eG (NBG) to manage all production and veterinary related aspects of that AI organization.
Dr. Simmet went to Sweden in 1960 to study how AI was being used in that country and was introduced to the AI techniques then being used in swine. He wrote that he was, “…immediately convinced that AI in pigs could offer farmers in Germany tremendous and immediate advantages.” In the same year he and his wife Irmingard, returned to Sweden to learn all they could about AI in swine. Thanks to the foresight of the management at the AI centre in Pocking and Dr. Simmet’s enthusiasm, they were able to establish one of the first boar studs in the world.
During the next decade, Dr. Simmet, with the full support of his wife and the management of the NBG, designed and developed the patented Minitüb system for the cryopreservation of bull semen in specially made Minitüb straws. This innovation incorporates the first fully automated packaging of bull semen and the routine use of 0.3 ml straws in the world.
The year 1970 was a milestone and new chapter for the Simmet family as they established the Minitüb company in Germany for the research and development of products and technologies to advance the use of AI in domestic animals. Today, livestock producers around the world rely on products and technologies developed and manufactured by Minitube.
The rich heritage of Dr. Ludwig and Irmingard Simmet continues to flourish as their sons, Florian, Christian and Rudolf with their families, build on the foundation laid by their parents. Today the family of Minitube companies provides direct support to their customers worldwide. Dr. Simmet's work, principles and accomplishments have been instrumental in developing artificial reproduction technologies for many species. His legacy will be carried into the future by the dedicated staff of all the Minitube companies throughout the world as they continue to advance animal reproduction with new and improved technologies.