Cattle Breeds

Dual-purpose Cattle Breeds (Beef & Dairy)

Cattle Breeds (Beef)

Cattle Breeds (Dairy)

 

Dual-purpose Cattle Breeds (Beef & Dairy)

 

  • Brown swiss cattle copyright Malcolm-MorleyBrown Swiss - The oldest of all dairy breeds. The beautiful brown cows were developed in the north-eastern part of Switzerland. Bones found in the ruins of Swiss lake dwellers date back to probably 4000 BC, and have some resemblance to the skeleton of today's Brown Swiss cow.
    A background of extreme terrain and weather has produced a cattle breed world renowned for many definitive characteristics. Today the Brown Swiss is the second largest dairy breed in the world with a reported over 8 million registered cattle and the world population estimated at over 14 million head.
    The Brown Swiss or Braunvieh is light brown in colour with a creamy white muzzle and dark noze, dark-blue eye pigmentation which helps the breed to resist extreme solar radiation (statistical data is available from tropical countries, based on practical experience).Brown Swiss cattle have been bred horned and polled, when horned the horns are short and white growing dark towards the top. Brown Swiss are robust, a prolific breeder, long-lived, strong, adaptable, and very well-balanced in build with good hooves and limbs.
    This breed has a double utility as they are used for dairy and beef purposes providing good milk and meat output.
    Milk producers throughout the world are adding Brown Swiss to their herds daily, because of the good milk, protein, and butter fat production. Their correct feet and legs allow them to stay in the milking herd for more lactations than many other breeds. The milk of the Brown Swiss cow is coveted by cheese makers. The volume of milk plus the protein produced by Brown Swiss makes the best milk for the fluid and cheese markets. Brown Swiss breeders benefit from the best fat-to-protein ratio of any of the dairy breeds for production of most cheeses. For this reason, Brown Swiss producers regularly receive more for 100 pounds of their milk than milk producers of other breeds.
    Society website: http://www.brownswiss.org/

  • Dexter cow copyright David-MerrettDexter - The Dexter originated in the South Western region of Ireland. Like the Kerry, they are descended from the predominately black cattle of the early Celts.
    The Dexter breed is the smallest British breed of cattle. It is a dual-purpose breed, with the average weight of a cow being some 300 - 350 Kg's and standing 92cm - 107cm at the shoulder. There are two recognized types, short legged and non-short, both of which have their equal merits. The breed comes in three colours, predominately black, but also red and dun.
    Dexter cows are extremely maternal and because of their dual purpose qualities will milk well. Calving problems are rare and newly born calves are up on their feet very quickly. Heifers mature young and can be put to the bull at 15 - 18 months of age. Dexter's are noted for their longevity and should breed regularly for 14 years or more.
    Not only can a Dexter be the ideal family cow/pet, but, pound for pound, they are far more economical than their larger counterparts. More Dexters can be grazed on less acreage; they produce high percent dressed carcass of lean, tender, fine-grained beef with excellent flavor. As dairy cattle, their milk is easily digested and high in butterfat - yielding 1.5-2 gallons of 4% butterfat milk per day - with smaller-sized fat globules making the milk more digestible.
    Society website: http://www.dextercattle.co.uk
  • Friesian cattle copyright DpaajonesFriesian - Friesians were imported into the east coast ports of England and Scotland, from the lush pastures of North Holland, during the 1800s. The Friesian is can be one of two coat colour types, white with black patches (the common colour) or white with red patches. The Friesian is a renowned dairy breed but throughout its history it has also been known as a dual-breed with the excess bulls providing lean beef.
    The modern Friesian is pre-eminently a grazing animal, well able to sustain itself over many lactations, on both low lying and upland grassland, being developed by selective breeding over the last 100 years. Some outstanding examples of the breed have 12 to 15 lactations to their credit, emphasising their inherent natural fecundity. In response to demand, protein percentages have been raised across the breed and herd protein levels of 3.4% to 3.5% are not uncommon.
    Society website: http://www.britishfriesian.co.uk

  • Gloucester CattleGloucester - an ancient breed, numerous in the Severn Vale and throughout Gloucestershire as early as the 13th century. They were valued for their meat and milk (producing cheese – Single and Double Gloucester) and as strong draught oxen.
    A Gloucester cow named Blossom provided the first anti-smallpox serum to Sir Edward Jenner in 1796 as he noticed that milk maids were free of smallpox.
    Originally formed in 1919 the Gloucester Cattle Society was revived in 1973 initially to provide for the survival of the breed. The Society has been very successful and breed numbers have now grown to over 700 registered females.
    The breed is categorised as a rare breed by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and its status is monitored on the Watchlist.
    Gloucester cattle are instantly recognizable with their black / brown colour with a white streak along their back, white tail and white belly.
    Society website: http://www.gloucestercattle.org.uk
  • holstein-cattle-coptright Keith-WellerHolstein - The Holstein breed originated in Europe. The original stock were the black animals and white animals of the Batavians and Friesians, migrant European's who settled in the Rhine Delta region about 2,000 years ago. For many years, Holsteins were bred and strictly culled to obtain animals which would make best use of grass, the area's most abundant resource. The intermingling of these animals evolved into an efficient, high-producing black-and-white dairy cow. Holsteins are large cattle with color patterns of black and white or red and white. While some cows may live considerably longer, the normal productive life of a Holstein is six years.
    Holsteins have the highest milk productions in the world. Top producing Holsteins milking twice a day have been known to produce up to 67,914 pounds of milk in 365 days. They adapt to all management and utilisation systems. They can be stabled, but are equally suitable for grazing. They can be kept on grassland or in mixed farming systems with bi-annual grazing, or be stabled throughout the year. However, Holsteins, compared to natural breeds, are not as resistant to heat and diseases when in difficult agro-ecological areas. Their reaction to such conditions is a reduced production capacity.
    Holsteins are more than just a dairy breed. The animal also contributes to the meat supply worldwide, have a high growth percentage in the fattening sector and produce meat with a fine fibre. In industries aimed exclusively at milk production, they are cross-bred with beef breeds for a better quality veal.
    Society website: http://ukcows.com/holsteinuk/publicweb/
  • Kerry cow copyright Steven-WallingKerry - Kerry Cattle are an Irish dairy breed believed to be one of the oldest breeds in Europe and most probably the descendants of the Celtic Shorthorn, brought to Ireland as long ago as 2000 B.C. The Kerry was the first breed to be developed primarily as a milk producer.
    Kerry's are known for their milk and they produce good quality milk with small fat globules which are easily digestible and ideal for cheese and yoghurt production.
    In appearance they are black, of fine dairy type with white horns tipped black, though many herds are now dehorned. The Kerry is adaptable and hardy, of manageable size (350-450kg), calves easily and has a long and productive life, some still calving at 14 and 15 years of age.
    Average milk yield is between 2950 and 3650kg at 4% butterfat and there are quite a number of cows capable of yielding 4535kg at 4% and over.
    Kerrys are a manageable size, hardy, thrifty and easy calving and as such can make ideal house cows. As house cows they provide enough milk during each lactation for the average household and to rear several calves. Calves are easily reared and steers will fatten well though they do take four to six months longer than modern breeds. They produce excellent quality beef weighing up to 535kg.
    The Kerry is listed on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust breed list.
    Society website: http://www.kerrycattle.org.uk
  • Red Poll cattle copyright CgoodwinRed Poll - The counties of Suffolk and Norfolk in England are the original homes of the Red Poll. No one knows when the first cattle were introduced into Suffolk, but it was thought that cattle were brought to that area by the Romans. Red Poll cattle were developed as a dual-purpose breed. Breeders sought a type that would fatten readily rather than be of extreme size. A good milk flow was also considered important in selecting breeding stock.
    The breed has a world wide reputation for producing high quality beef, the meat is fine grained meat and therefore very tender and the flavour is exceptional.
    The Red Poll is listed by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust as being Endangered.
    Society website: http://www.redpoll.org
  • salers cattle copyright Fabien1309Salers - Salers originate in the Southern half of the Massif Central in the Auvergne region of France. It has a rough and variable climate, and though higher, 2,000-6,000ft, is very similar to the Lake District and the Highlands of Scotland, Wales and Ireland. The Salers is one of the oldest breeds in the world, with prehistoric cave paintings suggesting that a similar type of animal has been bred in the area for 7-10,000 years.
    The difficult environmental conditions where the Salers breed developed makes it ideal for the poorer areas of the British Isles and todays beef industry. Salers are generally horned and dark red, though there are a very small number of black animals. Polled animals in the full blood herd are very rare. However, a growing number of polled and black Salers are becoming available in the pure bred herd. The skin and pigmented membranes are brown and consequently few eye or udder problems occur. A good hair coat which becomes thick and curly in winter gives hardiness and adaptability to cold and heat.
    At birth, Salers calves are typically long and slender and have small heads. This shape is a major contributor to the renowned calving ease of the breed. Salers females are usually very conscientious and vigilant mothers, often caring for other calves in the group as well as their own.
    Until modern times Salers cattle were respected not only as beef animals, but as milk producers for cheese products and were also utilized as strong sources of animal power. In France today, only about 10% of the Salers herds are still milked, the remainder being used for beef production. Research conducted in France with 4864 lactations found Salers to have an average daily milk production of 11.1 litres over a 274 day lactation (more than 3000 litres). By comparison, this same trial shows Charolais at 5.7 and Limousins at 4.9 litres per day. Also, high protein milk necessary for cheese production is another Salers characteristic.
    Society website: http://www.salers-cattle-society.co.uk
  • Shetland cattle copyright BoxersoftShetland- Dual purpose breed. Animals not required for breeding are readily marketable, as they produce excellent beef. They are eligible for the Traditional Breeds Meat Marketing Scheme where they command a substantial price premium, and are eagerly sought by TBMMS finishing units. The cows also provide a good quantity of very rich milk, both for their calves and for milking if required.
    Known for high fertility and easy calving. Shetlands have very wide pelvises which makes for extremely easy calving when bred pure. It also makes them very well suited for cross-breeding with even the largest of continental breeds to produce larger calves. They are excellent and attentive mothers but rarely show aggression to their owners even with new born calves, making them ideal suckler cows.
    Known as the smallholder's cow, they are calm and easy to handle. They do not require special handling equipment like Highlanders. They can be trained to come to the bucket if required (they were the original house cow of the Shetland crofter).
    One of the faster finishing native breeds, typically ready for slaughter well within 30 months off grass – an excellent economic benefit.
    Aesthetically attractive with black and white or red and white markings and "Viking style" short horns. They are not an aggressive breed: their small size making them non-threatening and the bulls are docile in company with cows. Their rarity and heritage make them a breed in which people are interested.
    Society website: http://www.shetlandcattle.org.uk

 

Cattle Breeds (Beef)

  • angus cattle copyright -AmericasroofAberdeen Angus - developed in the early part of the 19th century from the polled and predominantly black cattle of North east Scotland known locally as "doddies" and "hummlies". Aberdeen Angus cattle are naturally polled and can be black or red in colour although black is the dominant colour, white may occasionally appear on the udder.
    They are resistant to harsh weather, undemanding, adaptable, good natured, mature extremely early and have a high carcass yield with nicely marbled meat. Angus are renowned as a carcass breed. They are used widely in crossbreeding to improve carcass quality and milking ability. Angus females calve easily and have good calf rearing ability. They are also used as a genetic dehorner as the polled gene is passed on as a dominant characteristic.
    Society website: http://www.aberdeen-angus.co.uk
  • Beef Shorthorn Bull copyright Robert-ScarthBeef Shorthorn - The Shorthorn breed of cattle, which we know today, has evolved over the last two centuries, from Teeswater and Durham cattle found originally in the North East of England.
    Beef Shorthorn come in three colours, red, white and roan. Red cattle may be solid red or have white markings and they can be horned or polled. They are bigger than their dairy counterparts and are grown specifically for their beef.
    Solid red Shorthorn are often used to help maintain solid colours in crosses. The whites and roans can be used on black cattle to get both blues and blacks.
    Shorthorn bulls are active aggressive breeders and we get many reports of bulls being used in commercial herds for several years, often up to eight years.
    An advantage of the Shorthorn cross is that the steers produced have an excellent rate of gain, good feed conversion and increased marbling and tenderness Overall the Shorhorn is the ideal breed for the production of a choice high quality beef with its suitability for extensive and organic farming systems and its proven marbling and early finishing abilities.
    Society website: http://www.shorthorn.co.uk
  • Belgian blue cattle copyright agriflandersBelgian Blue - As the name implies, Belgian Blue cattle originated in central and upper Belgium. During the second half of the 19th century Shorthorn bulls were exported from the UK to Belgium to improve the native population which was primarily of the dairy type (red-pied and black-pied cattle). British Breeders imported Belgian Blues into the UK, in the early 1980’s. They recognised their future importance to the modern commercial beef market, being fine boned, heavily muscled, docile animals with tremendous growth potential, leading to a very high percentage of saleable meat.
    The Belgian Blue is a large sized animal with rounded outline and prominent muscles. The shoulder, back, loin and rump are heavily muscled. The back is straight, rump is sloping, tail set is prominent and skin is fine. It has fine but strong legs and walks easily.
    Their colour can range from white, blue roan, black or a combination of them, the colour red is present in some genotypes. The breed is known for its quiet temperament.
    Society website: http://www.britishbluecattle.org
  • belted-gallowayBelted Galloway - Belted Galloways are a hardy breed that originated on the exposed uplands of Galloway, in the south west of Scotland. The Belted Galloway is a very distinctive breed with its characteristic white belt which encircles the body, the rest of the body being black, dun or red in colour. The distinctive white belt found in Belted Galloways often varies somewhat in width and regularity but usually covers most of the body from the shoulders to the hooks. The white contrast to the black coat, which may have a brownish tinge in the summer, sets the breed apart with its striking colour pattern.
    They are naturally polled hill cattle are eminently suited for converting rough grazing into lean meat. Their double coat of long hair, to shed the rain, and soft undercoat, for warmth, eliminates the need for expensive housing.
    The cows are long living, regular breeders noted for the amount of rich milk they produce, therefore rearing a good calf.
    Society website: http://www.beltedgalloways.co.uk
  • Charolais - The Charolais originated in west-central to southeastern France, in the old French provinces of Charolles and neighboring Nievre.
    The typical Charolais is white in color with a pink muzzle and pale hooves, horned, long bodied, and good milkers with a general coarseness to the animal not being uncommon. Although there are now Charolais cattle being bred black and red in colour.
    Charolais are medium to large framed beef cattle with a very deep and broad body. They have a short, broad head and heavily muscled loins and haunches. Charolais have demonstrated growth ability, efficient feedlot gains and in carcass cut-out values. With excellent meat conformation, especially of the valuable parts and relative late maturity they are well suited to fattening for high finished weight. They are well suited to all purpose cross breeding.
    Society website: http://www.charolais.co.uk
  • Red Devon bull copyright Mark-RobinsonDevon - The Devon, sometimes called North Devon, to distinguish it from the South Devon breed, is one of the oldest beef breeds in existence today.
    Devon cattle are red in color, varying in shade from a rich deep red to a light red or chestnut color. A bright ruby red color is preferred and accounts for their nickname, the "Red Rubies." The hair is of medium thickness and is often long and curly during the winter; however, coats are short and sleek in summer. The Devon was originally horned, but polling has been introduced over the years, and now 50% of registrations are of polled Devons. They are generally a well muscled breed, but do not possess the extreme muscling of some of the exotics.
    The breed has long been noted for its fertility, calving ease, docility, hardiness and ability to adapt to temperature extremes. Devon cattle have the thickest hides of any cattle in the world. That means that Devon cattle have better resistance to external parasites.
    Society website: http://www.redrubydevon.co.uk
  • Hereford bull copyright Robert-MerkelHereford - The origin of the Hereford has been lost over time but it is generally agreed that it was founded on the draught ox descended from the small red cattle of Roman Briton and from a large Welsh breed once numerous along the border of England and Wales.
    The modern Hereford is coloured dark red to red-yellow, with a white face, crest, dewlap, and underline. Herefords with white flanks and white markings below the knees and hocks are also common. Most animals have short thick horns that typically curve down at the sides of the head, but there is also a polled strain (Polled Hereford).
    The breed has a wonderful temperament leading to easier management thus reducing labour costs. Less stress during marketing which helps produce better eating quality meat. The easy calving ability of the breed obviously contributes to an increased calf crop and reduced costs, especially veterinary call-outs, thus resulting in greater profit and a more welfare friendly environment amongst the breeding females.
    Society website: http://www.herefordcattle.org/
  • highlandHighland - One of Britain's oldest, most distinctive, and best known breeds, with a long, thick, flowing coat of rich hair and majestic sweeping horns, the Highlander has remained largely unchanged over the centuries. Written records go back to the 18th century and the Highland Cattle Herd Book, first published in 1885, lists pedigrees since that time.
    It is on the vast areas of poor mountain land with high annual rainfall and bitter winds that Highland Cattle thrive and breed where no other cattle could exist Making the most of poor forage, calving outside and seldom, if ever, housed they make a real economic contribution to hill and upland areas. The breed is exceptionally hardy with a natural and unique ability to convert poor grazing efficiently. They are remarkable for their longevity: many Highland cows continue to breed to ages in excess of eighteen years having borne fifteen calves. They are great mothers.
    A little known fact about Highland breeders is that they don't call their herd a herd. It is called a fold of Highland cattle because, in the olden days in winter the cattle were brought together at night in open shelters made of stone called folds to protect them from the weather and wolves.
    Society website: http://www.highlandcattlesociety.com
  • Limousin cattle copyright jacme31Limousin - These golden-red cattle originated in the West of the Massif Central between Central and South West France, a rather rainy region with harsh climatic conditions and poor granite soil. It was in these unfavourable conditions that the breed developed. As a result of their environment Limousin cattle evolved into a breed of unusual sturdiness, health and adaptability. This lack of natural resources also enabled the region to remain relatively isolated and the farmers free to develop their cattle with little outside genetic interference.
    The breed has developed from a working meat animal into a highly specialised beef producing animal with a well muscled carcass without excessive fat cover. Today, Limousin cattle are still referred to as the "butcher's animal" in France.
    The Limousin first cam to the UK in February 1971 - 179 pure-bred bulls and heifers arrived at Leith Docks in Edinburgh.
    Limousin bulls have proved to be extremely fertile and their conformation is passed on to all progeny whilst their lighter frame ensures ease of calving. Limousin females pure and cross-bred have demonstrated high fertility, a good milking ability, high conception rate and ease of calving. Naturally hardy and thrifty the females are smaller than most continental suckler dams allowing for increased stocking rates.
    The history of Limousin cattle may very well be as old as the European continent itself. Cattle found in cave drawings estimated to be 20 000 years old in the Lascaux Caves near Montignac, France have a striking resemblance to today's Limousin.
    Society website: http://www.limousin.co.uk
  • Lincoln Red - One of the oldest of the UK's native beef breeds. A polled animal, well fleshed with a deep cherry-red coat, a wide muzzle and well placed legs and sturdy feet, ideally suited to range conditions. Originally dual-purpose, the Lincoln Red female makes an excellent easy calving suckler cow. Either pure (fullblood) or crossbred, the resulting progeny grow rapidly and can be finished under many different systems either grazing or more intensively, producing marbled, flavourful, succulent beef.
    Due to crossing with selected European breeds to improve conformation and increase lean meat content, there has been a decline in the traditional native bred 100% Lincoln Red to the extent that this section of the breed is now monitored by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.
    Society website: http://www.lincolnredcattlesociety.co.uk
  • Lowline - Ideal for smallholders. Excellent temperament, easily handled and shown, even by children. More Lowlines to the acre than larger breeds – 66% more. Able to finish and marble on grass and on average between 14-18 months old. Excellent for beef.
    Breeders website: http://wessexlowlines.com

  • Luing - The Luing Breed was evolved by the Cadzow brothers on the Island of Luing which is situated off the West Coast of Scotland. The herd on Luing was started with the selection in 1947 of some of the best first cross Shorthorn / Highland heifers that could be procured. No two British breeds are more complementary to each other, with both of them having contributed something of great value to the Luing. Among these qualities are the ruggedness and hardiness gained from the Highlander and the fleshing qualities from the Shorthorn.
    The average Luing cow lives to produce ten calves and at the same time weans a calf approximately 50% of her body weight.  She must have enough length and depth to allow her a rumen that can take in plenty of roughage and still have the capacity to grow her unborn calf and keep herself fit to calf.
    A medium length coat of hair with a mossy underlay is correct and necessary for outwintering.  It need not be too long as it is the thickness of the skin under the hair that helps the animal to withstand the cold. Colour is not of great importance however reds, roans and yellows are most popular with broken colours and pure white animals less desireable.
    Society website: http://www.luingcattlesociety.co.uk/
  • Sussex  - Described at the Norman invasion of England in 1066, Sussex Cattle are an ancient breed. It is said that the Sussex is descended from the horned “red cows” once found throughout much of southern England, inhabiting the dense forests of the Weald land of Sussex and Kent.
    The Sussex is a medium sized cow with a smooth dark red coloured coat with white tail switches. In colder climates they can grow a thicker curlier coat. The Sussex cow measures approximately 135cm at the withers and weighs 585kg and the bull 145cm and 950kgs. Sussex cows are thrifty, long-lived cattle well suited to today’s narrow market requirements and stringent economic climate. They are also fairly easy to handle because of their history as draft animals and can adapt well to most management systems.
    The Sussex Breed ensures that its beneficial characteristics are easily fixed and passed on with great pre-potency in a crossbreeding program that will improve the foundation stock.
    Society website: http://www.sussexcattlesociety.org.uk
  • Welsh Black - The Welsh Black is a native British breed descended from cattle of Pre-Roman Britain in the rough mountain and hill country of Wales. There is evidence that the breed, or its forerunners, existed in Roman times and it has been suggested that the breed is based on cattle from the Iberian Peninsula. The Welsh Black can truly claim to be a British native breed as it has been, and is being, developed in the UK through solely British Welsh Black genetics with no input from imported Welsh Black bloodlines or from other breeds.
    Its formidable reputation has been built on the breed’s capability to thrive on marginal and upland areas. There, its foraging habit, coupled with hardiness, ease of calving, and mothering ability, comes into its own.
    The majority of Welsh Blacks are horned and black, varying from rusty black to jet black, with some white permitted on the underline behind the navel.
    The red recessive gene occasionally appears in a black herd and without exception breeds true. The red animal has no black genes and a red bull on a red cow will produce a red calf.
    There are naturally polled Welsh Blacks available in increasing numbers, both Black and Red.
    This hardy breed that provides high quality meat and milk has much to offer modern farming systems, with its ease of production and award-winning succulent meat.
    Society website: http://welshblackcattlesociety.com/
  • White Park CattleWhite Park – this breed has been used for many things – sacrificial beasts, draft animals and for milking. The commercial value of the breed now lies in its beef qualities and its use as a crossing sire. Until recent years little attention was paid to the commercial qualities of the breed by the majority of breeders, but there is now an increasing awareness of its potential value.
    The White Park experiences few problems at calving, either in purebreeding or when used as a crossing sire. A project carried out by the RBST demonstrated that the White Park compares very favourably with other breeds for ease of calving in purebreeding. Results from several commercial herds show that White Park bulls cause scarcely any problems when used as a crossing sire, and the crossbred calves are notably active at birth.
    The breed exists in a wide variety of conditions from lowland meadows with housing in winter, to outwintering on Pennine pastures. It has the ability to grow well on much poorer feeds than modern continental breeds.
    The White Park is a large breed, with cows weighing on average around 600kg.
    Society website: http://www.whitepark.org.uk

Cattle Breeds (Dairy)

    • Ayrshire - The typical Ayrshire cow is an alert vigorous animal showing strong character and mild temperament. This classic cow is any shade of red or brown including mahogany and white, although either colour may predominate. Her body exhibits dairy strength with femininity about the head, cleanness through the neck and shoulders but with strength in her chest. She has depth and openness of rib, an indication of her production potential, the skin is pliable and soft with fine silky hair and her bone structure is fine and flat being proportionate to body weight.
      The Ayrshire is noted for strong udder formation. Ideally the udder is long, wide and capacious with a silky texture. It is firmly attached with a well-defined central ligament and strong fore attachment blending smoothly into the body. Teats are uniform and evenly placed, being about 6.5cms long. Her feet and legs exhibit bone quality with hard feet and heel depth enabling free flowing movement.
      The Ayrshire is the ultimate, economic dairy cow - characterised by high quality, longevity, ease of management and overall good health.
      Top herds in the UK are averaging over 8,500 litres of milk per lactation, while in some countries yields exceed 10,000 litres. The milk has a high yield of butterfat and protein - which contributes to taste - and is sought after for processing.
      Society website: http://www.ayrshirescs.org
    • Dairy-ShorthornDairy Shorthorn – The Shorthorn breed of cattle has evolved over the last two centuries, from Teeswater and Durham cattle found originally in the North East of England. The breed was used in the early part of the 20th Century, primarily as a dual purpose breed, but specialisation for beef and milk led to the beef breeders starting their own section of the herd book in 1958.
      Dairy Shorthorns are red, red and white, white or roan, the last named colour being a very close mixture of red and white, and found in no other breed of cattle. They can be horned or polled and are very docile in nature.
      Shorthorn milk has the most favorable protein-fat ratio of the dairy breeds which is an added plus when marketing your milk for cheese. Shorthorns are also known for their structural soundness and longevity. Most cows are productive for five or more lactations, and several cows have produced in excess of 10,000kgs per lactation at greater than ten years of age. Dairy Shorthorns have very few problems with feet and legs, allowing the producer to cut out the expenses of lost milk production, veterinary bills, and replacement animals due to feet and leg difficulties. Both cows and heifers are easy calvers and excellent mothers, substantially decreasing calf mortality or unthriftiness.
      Society website: http://www.shorthorn.co.uk
    • Guernsey - The Guernsey breed built its reputation for the production of quality milk from grass during the 19th and early 20th centuries and then exported cattle to found significant populations in several other countries. From an original mixed foundation, island breeders concentrated on improving the stock by eliminating faults and making their cattle more homogeneous. All this was based mainly on visual appearance supplemented by some milk recording.
      Guernsey's renown as an unique producer of rich yellow coloured milk gave her the title "Golden Guernsey". Guernsey milk contains 12% more protein, 30% more cream, 33% more vitamin D, 25% more vitamin A and 15% more calcium than average milk.
      The colour of the Guernsey varies from yellow to reddish-brown with white patches. They have a finely tuned temperament, not nervous or irritable. Physically the breed has good dairy conformation and presents the visual impression of a plain animal bred for utility rather than good looks. Heifers generally come into milk at about two years of age. The average weaning weight of heifers and bull calves is 75 kg. The Guernsey bull has an attractive individuality, revealing ample vigor and masculinity. It has smooth-blending shoulders showing good refinement, strength and even contour.
      Society website: http://www.worldguernseys.org/
    • Jersey - Jerseys originate from Jersey in the Channel Islands. Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands. Today, the Jersey breed is the second largest breed of dairy cattle in the world. On Jersey itself there are fewer than 6000 Jerseys in total with nearly 4000 of these being adult milking cows. The purity of the breed on the island is maintained by a strict ban on imports. This ban has been in place for some 150 years. There are no other breeds of the cattle on the island.
      Jerseys can be recognised by their fawn colour and black nose. They usually have a blueberry (nearly black) brush to the tail, they are much smaller than their black and white cousins and are noted for their docility. Jerseys are well-known to be less susceptible to lameness because of their black hoof colour which makes their hooves very hard. Because Jerseys are a lighter breed this may also give them less problems with lameness.
      Jersey milk is noted for its high quality rather than the quantity, it is particularly rich in protein, minerals and trace elements. Jersey milk is also rich in colour which is naturally produced from carotene, an extract from grasses (the cows natural food).
      Society website: http://www.ukjerseys.com/
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