Dairy breed suitability

Dairy Shorthorn

The dairy shorthorn is a native breed stemming from the traditional shorthorn which has now split into the dairy and beef shorthorn breeds. This hardy cow is particularly suited to organic systems or less intensive systems due to her fantastic mobility and her ability to convert forage into milk. When called upon, the dairy shorthorn can also bring high yields of up to 10,000 kg, combined with excellent milk quality. Dairy shorthorn cows can deliver results without taking too much out of themselves; the breed is known for it’s good fertility and longevity, which coupled with their docile nature, makes them a pleasure to have in any parlour.


The holstein is the world’s number one producing cow for yield, and the most numerous dairy cow in the world. The holstein can produce over 10,000/l in a lactation, with the breed average in the UK around 8000/l per lactation. The Holstein-Friesian is a combination of the British Friesian and the Holstein which is a slightly more intermediate cow compared to the extreme Holstein. This cow yields slightly less than the pure holstein but has improved fertility and longevity.

British Friesian

The British Friesian is a medium yielding dual purpose dairy cow, who excels in a forage based extensive system. She is of a superior conformation compared to other dairy cow breeds which means her calves, particularly beef X calves are in high demand as store cattle or as breeding heifers. These cows average around 6000/l per lactation but are particularly long lived for dairy cows meaning herds require fewer replacements. Without the pressure of enormous milk yields the British friesian is a low maintenance cow who has great mobility, fertility and is less susceptible to mastitis.


The Jersey breed is famous for it’s sweet disposition, exceptional easy calving and it’s superior milk quality, with the Jersey having the highest butterfat % of any other commercial dairy breed. This little cow has the best conversion rate of forage of any other dairy breed, making her ideal for low cost grass based systems. Jersey cows are less susceptible to lameness and mastitis which increases their longevity and expected profitability.


The Ayrshire is uniquely adapted to climatic extremes, making her a suitable dairy breed for any location or system. Ayrshire herds in the UK can average around 8000l per lactation of high quality milk which is sought after for processing. The functionality of the Ayrshire is what makes her stand out from other breeds; she is a healthy, productive cow with excellent longevity, hard feet and efficient forage conversion.

Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Fleckvieh and Montbeliarde cows and crossbreds  are also widely kept throughout the UK in Dairy herds.

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