The Holstein-Friesian is the most widespread cattle breed in the world; it is present in more than 150 countries. With the growth of the New World, markets began to develop for milk in North America and South America, and dairy breeders turned to the Netherlands for their livestock. After about 8,800 Friesians (black pied Germans) had been imported, disease problems in Europe led to the cessation of exports to markets abroad.
In Europe, the breed is used for milk in the north, and meat in the south. Since 1945, European national development has led to cattle breeding and dairy products becoming increasingly regionalized. More than 80% of dairy production is north of a line joining Bordeaux and Venice, which also has more than 60% of the total cattle. This change led to the need for specialized animals for dairy (and beef) production. Until this time, milk and beef had been produced from dual-purpose animals. The breeds, national derivatives of the Dutch Friesian, had become very different animals from those developed by breeders in the United States, who used Holsteins only for dairy production.
Breeders imported specialized dairy Holsteins from the United States to cross with the European black and whites. For this reason, in modern usage, “Holstein” is used to describe North or South American stock and its use in Europe, particularly in the North. “Friesian” denotes animals of a traditional European ancestry, bred for both dairy and beef use. Crosses between the two are described by the term “Holstein-Friesian”.
The 2008 average actual production for all USA Holstein herds that were enrolled in production-testing programs and eligible for genetic evaluations was 23,022 pounds (10,443 kg) of milk, 840 pounds (380 kg) of butterfat, and 709 pounds (322 kg) of protein per year. Total lifetime productivity can be inferred from the average lifetime of US cows. This has been decreasing regularly in recent years and now stands at around 2.75 lactations, which when multiplied by average lactation yield above gives around 61,729 pounds (28,000 kg) of milk
Holsteins have distinctive markings, usually black and white or red and white in colour, typically exhibiting piebald patterns. On rare occasions, some have both black and red colouring with white. Red factor causes this unique colouring. ‘Blue’ is also a known colour. This colour is produced by white hairs mixed with the black hairs giving the cow a bluish tint. This colouring is also known as ‘blue roan’ in some farm circles. They are famed for their high dairy production, averaging 22,530 pounds (10,220 kg) of milk per year. Of this milk, 858 pounds (3.7%) are butterfat and 719 pounds (3.1%) are protein.
A healthy calf weighs 40 to 50 kg (75–110 lb) or more at birth. A mature Holstein cow typically weighs 680–770 kg (1500–1700 lb), and stands 145–165 cm (58–65 in) tall at the shoulder. Holstein heifers should be bred by 11 to 14 months of age, when they weigh 317–340 kg (700–750 lb) or 55% of adult weight. Generally, breeders plan for Holstein heifers to calve for the first time between 21 and 24 months of age and 80% of adult bodyweight. The gestation period is about nine and a half months.
Prices of Holstein Cow
$1,000 – $1,224.00