Cattle breeds

Cattle breeds

Dairy Advice | 21 June 2019


Holstein Friesian history

Holstein-Friesian (HF), Dairy livestock / cattle, originate from Friesland, a province in the North of the Ne-therlands/Holland. But Holstein Friesian cows nowadays are also known as an American black&white or red&white dairy breed. Holstein Friesian livestock is especially good in producing milk, the Holstein heifers / cattle are not fat, have a skinny appearance (dairy type). Also, the Holstein cow has almost no musculation. The dairy cattle from Friesland are called Friesian Holstein, they are smaller than the Holstein-Friesians but are more musculated. In the Netherlands, we also have the Maas-Rijn-IJssel (MRIJ) race, this race and the Friesian Holstein breed have higher butterfat and protein percentages but the Holstein Friesian cow produ-ces more milk, she reaches higher milk lactations.

In the early days, The Friesian and Batavian livestock / cattle were crossed, and from this the Holstein Frie-sian cow is the result which grew out to be a fantastic milking breed. Dairy livestock from The Netherlands have been very popular all over the world during the 19th century because of their high milk production. Hol-stein cattle / livestock were exported to the United States where breeders continued to breed with these Dutch cows. Here they were named Holstein-Friesian. Holstein Friesians ( or just short called : „Holsteins“ in North America, whereas in the UK they call them Friesians ) did not only exist in the province of Friesland, but also in in the Dutch provinces of North Holland, Schleswig-Holstein in Northern Germany and Jutland, Denmark. Holstein Friesian is a dairy breed known as the highest milk producing cows in the world.
In The Netherlands / Holland the best available feed for the livestock / cattle was grass.
That is why they bred dairy livestock /cattle that function best and produce well on this nourriture.
As the need for milk in America and South America was growing, they started to buy Holstein livestock / cattle from The Netherlands.They continued breeding Holsteins, especially for milk production.
In Europe both milk and meat was a breeding purpose. But after a lot of Holstein Friesian cattle / livestock in Europe died because of diseases the European farmers re-imported Holstein animals from America again. Descendants from these Dutch cows returned to The Netherlands, because in the mean time the American variant produced more milk than the Dutch cattle breeds MRIJ and Friesian Holstein. And now the Holstein-Friesian is the most important breed of cows in The Netherlands.
The difference between America and Europe is that in America the Holstein is bred especially to produce milk. „The Friesian“ is the breed that was bred for both dairy and beef and the Holsteins from America crossed with the Friesians from Europe are called the Holstein Friesian.

Today, the Holstein Friesian dairy livestock, in Holland / The Netherlands, is the most efficient producing Holstein in the world. High fat 4.2% and protein 3.2 % percentage, with average lactation of 8800 kg, ma-kes this Holstein Friesian from Holland an interesting investment for dairy farms world wide. Compared to other countries, the Holstein Friesian from Holland is very strong heifer, with a lifetime milkproduction of 30.000kg and anaverage of 3.5 lactation per lifetime.

Danish Red history

Danish Red livestock cattle (European Red family) is an important breed of dairy producing livestock / cattle in the Scandinavia region. Danish Red is a red coloured dual-purpose breed which are breeded for dairy and beef production.
The Danish Red cattle breed is a breeding result of crossing local breeds with Angeln cattle from Angeln, Schleswig Holstein Germany.
Angeln cattle / livestock has a typical red colour and has become the basement of the Danish Red cattle / livestock breed. Not only Denmark imported the Angeln genetic, also the Estonian Red, Latvian Red , Polish Red, Lithuanian Red, Belarus Red and Bulgarian Red are family of the Angeln breed.
The Danish Red cattle / livestock has an average weight of 660 kg and easily adapt differend kind of climates.
This milk and beef breed can perform in extreme warm circumstances and very cold conditions. That is why the Danish Red has been exported to a lot of tropical climates.
Around 1960, 61% of the total amount of milk producing cows are Danish Red. That amount of Danish Red livestock / cattle changed over the years into 20% in 1980. Nowaday the Danis Red cattle / livestock in Denmark is popular for crossbreeding with Friesian Holstein, Jersey or Friesian breeds. The Danish red is also known as ‘Red Danish dairy breed’. The share of pure breed Danish Red in the Danish milkproducing population is at the moment 6.7%. That means about 40.000 Danish Reds are based in Denmark.The majority population in Denmark is Holstein Friesian cattle / livetock.

The Danish Red cattle / livestock is populair because of his high fat 4.2% and protein 3.5% content in the high milkproduction (milkproduction of 8000kg avarage). Danish Red cattle / livestock has a high fertility and can calve easy.
Farmer like this type of breed, because it has strong hooves, legs and their longlivity. The Danish Red has almost no problems with mastitis and is quite disease resistant. The calving interval is around 13 months.
An advantage is also, that when the Danish Red is not productive anymore, she brings a good yield of 56% in the slaughterhouse.

Danish Red calves are about 36-40kg at birth and gain weight of 1.4kg per day. When the Danish Red bulls have an age of 12-16 months, they weight between the 420-600kg. Adult Danish Red cows are between 550-800kg. Danish Red bulls are around 1000kg.

The European Red family exists in Scandinavia out of 360.000 red cows. Denmark has about 40.000 red cows ( Danish Red), Sweden holds 130.000 red cows ( Swedish Red ) and Finland is breeding about 190.000 red cows (Finnish Ayrshire). All 3 countries have a main goal in breeding:High fat and protein percentage in the milk, easy calving, strong leggs and hooves, longlivity, good fertility and healthy udder.

Every year thousands of Danish Red heifers / cattle / livestock are exported to other farms worldwide!
Other names for Danish Red are: Red Dane, Red Danish, Rødt Dansk Malkekvog (Danish) and Fünen

Jersey history

The history story of the Jersey breed starts around in 1700 at the British Island Jersey in front of the coast of Normandy, France. The pureness of the blood of the Jersey breed has been controled by the the government for more than 200 years.
Till 1789 the Jersey cattle / Livestock was a weddinggift for inter island marriages between the British Island Jersey and Guernsey. It was forbidden to import any cattle Livestock from abroad, to keep the Jersey breed pure. However the export of Jersey breed cattle / livestock and semen was a huge income for the Island.
The import restrictions of livestock in 1789 were the result of an UK import from France via the Island Jersey. The bad quality and dumping prices gave a bad result to the reputation of the Jersey livestock and prices. The result was a ban on all import of cattle / livestock to Jersey, so the controle on quality and prices of Jersey livestock became much better.

As told, the export of the cattle / livestock was a huge source of income for the Island of Jersey.
In 1860 about 1138 Jersey cows / cattle / livestock were exported from the Island. Even around 1910, more than a 1000 head of Jersey cattle / livestock were exported to the USA only.
In 1866 the Jersey Herdbook was founded. In this Jersey Herd book, all bulls, heifers and cows were registrated, so complete controle on the breed is possible. The result came in 1869, prices were awarded for breeders and their Jersey cattle / livestock of the Jersey herd book.

In 2008, the ban on import of cattle / livestock and semen ended. From this moment it is possible to import bull semen from all breeds of cattle / livestock into the States of Jersey. Only purebreed semen from breeds like: FriesianHolstein, Simmental, European Red etc., and approved by the Jersey Herdbook.
A long tradition came to an end: all 12 districts in Jersey hold cattle / livestock shows during the whole year round, followed by the final show from Royal Jersey Society, where the best breeding districts were competing with their best genetic material for the prestigious awards.
Nowaday, the Royal Jersey Society organises 2 shows per year, with the remaining 5 or 6 Jersey districts, competing against each other for the prices.

The United States of America became a big importer of Jersey cattle / livestock since 1850. The Amercian Jersey Cattle Club was founded in 1868. The differences between American Jersey cattle and the from original island type Jersey livestock, is the size of the cow. The Americans breeded the livestock for milkproduction, and breeded a larger type of cow. The origin Jersey cow from the Island is quite small and called “Miniature Jersey”.

Characteristics of Jersey dairy breed:
The Jersey is a small type of dairy cattle / livestock with a bodyweight between 400 and 500 kg
The breed is very popular for it high Fat 5% and Protein 4% content in the milk.
Jersey livestock is effective milking cows: because of their superior grazing ability and are easy to handle. Their behaviour is typically calm, managable and the heifers calf very easy.
Jersey livestock are very small at their birth, with a bodyweight of around 25kg, which makes it easier on the dam. Around 96% of births in first-lactation Jerseys heifers needed no help or assistance, while later lactation cows had almost 99% unsupported births.
That makes it very popular to cross the jersey breed with other dairy breeds like Friesian Holstein or beef breeds to reduce the problems with calving. Also their fertility is very high, so very good for breeding Jersey population. The first birth is around 19 months, and even the calving interval is quite short.
The colour of the Jersey breed and vary in all colours of brown till almost black with their long eyelashes.
The worldwide popularity of the Jersey breed is because, Jersey’s can adapt extreme temperatures. From the coldest till the warmest areas, the Jersey cattle / livestock can manage it.
Jersey cattle is a strong breed, so the problems with legs and hooves are less than other breed. Also mastitis and dystocia problems are much lower than other breeds. Beside this, the Jersey cattle / livestock has a longer life span. The amount of lactations per lifetime is quite high.
Average lactations of the Jersey cattle / livestock is around 5000kg of milk per year. The best Jersey cattle / livestock can make it to around 8500-9000kg per year.

Simmental history

The Simmental livestock / cattle breed is a cattlebreed with duel- use purpose. This breed milk and beef cattle breed finds his first steps in the Middle Ages. There are proven sources that gives the indication that the Simmental breed is a combination between German cattle and Swiss cattle. The name Simmental is from origin from the ”Simme Valley” in Berner Oberland in Switserland.
In Switerland this breed is named Simmental, in Germany and Austria they call it Fleckvieh.
France has his own name for Simmental: Montbiliard and Pie Rouge de l’Est.

In the year 1785, the Swiss Parliament limited the export of Simmental breed, because of a shortage of Simmental livestock / cattle to meet their own needs. The Swiss Simmental Cattle Association” was founded in 1890.

The worldwide export of the Simmental livestock / cattle breed was until the late 1960s.
Documents show that in 1400 just a small group of cattle has been exported to Italy. In the 19th century, Simmental livestock / cattle breed were distributed to Eastern Europe countries, the Balkans, Russia and South Africa in 1895. Guatemala imported their first Simmental livestock / cattle breed in 1897, with Brazil and Argentina following in 1918 and 1922.
In the US, the first signs of Simmental was in the start of the 20th century. But did not convince the early addapter in the US. Later on in the 1960’s, the Simmental breed got a 2nd chance to enter the market and succeeds! In 1967, the Simmental cattle breed made their presence in the USA when Mr Travers Smith imported the famous bull named “Parisien” from France. The export of purebreed Simmental semen to the USA started also that year.
Swiss started to export the Simmental cattle breed to Britain, Ireland and Norway in the 1970’s. Folowed by Australia, former Yugoslavia and Republic of China.
The population of Simmental livestock / cattle breed is globally around 40-60 milion, with more than half of this population in Europe.

Simmental can also be used for crossbreeding in the dairy production or in beef production.
The Simmental breed can be characterized by their adaptability of different climate conditions.
Simmental can be used for aswell intensive and extensive ways of farming.
The Simmental livestock / cattle breed can be characterized by: a strong muscled body structure, his colours in gold & white and red & white ( with mainly a white head), high fertility, and their longevity. Simmental livestock / cattle breed have a pigment around the eyes, so that prevents eye problems in regions with extreme sunny weather. Farmers recognize Simmental livestock / cattle breed as easy to handle cattle. The Simmental genetics provide an easy way of calving, without huge complications. Beside that Simmental cattle have short calving interval. That makes a lot of calvings possible.
Simmental livestock / cattle breed might be horned or polled, but that depends on the breeding history. Some farmers do not want to dehorn, because dehorning can bring stress to their herd. So they can choose for dehorned Simmental cattle or Simmental livestock with hornes.

The Simmental breed is suitable for the production of milk and beef. The milkyield is not as high as Holsteins, but Simmental has the genetic to get more kg’s beef than Holstein. The Simmental livestock / cattle breed has a milkyield between 5000-8000kg per year. The fat 4.2% and Protein 3.7% in the milk is high!
Beside dairy, Simmental livestock / cattle breed is good for beef production.
The beef yield from from Simmental livestock / cattle breed is high, with a high ratio of 57.2% meat. The gain of Simmental livestock / cattle is 1.44kg per day. The result of slaughtering Simmental cattle is well-marbled high-quality beef! Simmental female has a weight between the 700-900kg. And a Simmental bull can gain weight till 1300kg.

The simmental cattle has been exported to many countries in the world. The former Sovjet states imported a lot of Simmental cattle / livestock. Different kind of cross breeds were part of the Simmental family.
Steppe Simmental (Russian cattle × Simmental bulls)
Ukrainian Simmental (Grey steppe cattle × Simmental bulls)
Volga Simmental (Central Russian Kalmyk and Kazakh cattle × Simmental bulls)
Ural Simmental (Siberian and Kazakh cattle × Simmental)
Siberian Simmental (Siberian and Buryat cattle × Simmental)
Far Eastern Simmental (Transbaikal and Yakutian cattle × Simmental)
Around 1990, there were 12,5 milion Simmental cattle in the Former Sovjet Union. It went down till less than 3 milion in 2003.

Limousin history

Limousin livestock / cattle are a French breed, origin from the Marche and Limousin regions.
„La Limousine“ is noticed already in the 17th century.
Some people think that Limousin is the oldest cattle breeds in history! Historic French cave-paintings show an animal similar to the Limousin, and for years there were claims that this was in fact proof that limousin were used by our grand parents in France. After some research it was found that the paintings depicted a much older species of bovine, but Limousins share many of the same genetics!

Strength, muscles but also good milking are features of the Limousin animal. The Limousin bulls were brought walking to Paris and Bordeaux to be shown.
But the Limousin also fed the big cities in times of famine, as they produces so much meat. The origin of the Limousin is in the area around Limoges, the departement Limousin. Back then the Limousin easily had 300 – 350 kgs of meat.The meat is very tender, due to the diet which is poor in this region, animals must walk around a lot to get the minerals and herbs this department is offering.

Starting in the 19th century, just like the Charolais race, also for the Limousin animals selection on special chosen features came up. The breeders chose to keep the Limousin a purebred race. But like the Charolais, also here some tried to cross with the english Durham breed. Results were dissapointing and so the Limou-sin stayed purebred. The Limousin breeders understand that picking the right animals for breeding and ta-king good care of those by feeding them better and look after their hygiene better is the best way to get the best Limousin. The most beautiful and best producing animals are registered in the Limousin Herd-Book. The committee admitting the animals to the herdbook Limousin is very strict. Adult Limousin females should average 700 kilo’s and mature males 1100 kilo’s.

French Limousins are almost always horned, but there are records of some international breeders managing to produce polled cattle. Limousin cattle livestock is very fertile and calve easily. The calve easy because their birthing weight is quite low.
The Limousin animal must have a red/brown/gold coloured fur. The colour must be consistent no variation in colour depth is allowed. But: around the nose and eyes it should be lighter of colour and around the anus and end of the tail too, no freckles or stain is allowed on the nose. The Limousin breeders aim at obtaining a bigger animal.

The Limousin cattle livestock grazing breed is especially attractive for farmers with wide open fields and steppes, who do not want to worry about calvings. Another strong point of the limousin cattle is their strong immune system. They have a high resistance against diseases and infections. The Limousin race is extre-mely healthy and strong. Like the Charolais, the Limousin is a continental type of cattle, with the ability to thrive through damp winters and the odd hot spell in summer.
The Limousin breed has an efficience in converting feed into weight better than other breeds.
However, the Limousin cattle / livestock mature in a later stadium, meaning that weight gain isn’t as quick as other breeds.
The Limousin cattle / livestock breeding bulls are very popular by Dairy farm breeders. Limousin calves are quite small at birth, so in combination with Friesian Holstein, the Friesians calf more easy.. Since their calves are quite small, breeding with Friesians for example is quite popular. The cross calves gain also more value at the market.
Limousin Beef yield from Limousin cattle are quite high. Limousin breed cattle carcasses gain between 58-63% meat yield in regular case! The ratio of good beef is excellent. The Limousins beef has also good mar-bling quality, making for great tenderness.

In France nowadays are 1750 breeders owning together 63000 mother cows registered in the Limousin
herdbook. In the UK the meat from the Limousin livestock / cattle breed is number 1, it even won from the english Hereford race!


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