Why Milking Shorthorns? The reasons are many!
The Milking Shorthorn breed is the most versatile of all breeds and this is one of its greatest attributes. These docile cows efficiently produce large volumes of nutritious milk each lactation and are large enough to have a high salvage value when their long productive lives finally come to an end. In addition, their healthy calves born each year on regular calving intervals are spunky at birth, grow rapidly, and those not kept for breeding stock and herd replacement make efficient gains and hang very desirable grading carcasses.
Other attributes of the breed include ease of calving, ease of management and economy of production, especially on home raised roughages and grass.
Milking Shorthorn cattle are continuing to increase in production and popularity as a recognized dairy breed. Ease of management and calving ease are two aspects of Milking Shorthorns that breeders rank highly. Lower veterinarian bills and longevitiy are also noted by dairymen. Mature Milking Shorthorns average over 15,000 pounds milk, 500 pounds fat and 465 pounds protein. The Milking Shorthorn breed is noted for its high protein to fat ratio which is increasingly desirable in milk marketed today.
Even your neighbors will remark about the non-generic, beautifully colored red, white and roan Milking Shorthorn cows grazing on the green grass. You will love their gentle dispositions - such an asset when working with cattle in pasutres, lanes and unsophisticated milking parlors. Best of all, the Milking Shorthorns' hardy, trouble-free attributes will give you that extra time for family and other pursuits.
Even though most present-day Milking Shorthorn breeders are specialists in the production of milk, there is still an unbroken legacy carried over from the time the breed was widely recognized as general farm cattle that were expected to efficiently convert roughtages, including grass, into milk. Grazing for Milking Shorthorns is as natural as roosting is to a hen!
Milking Shorthorns are competitive milk producers. In a program designed to continually improve the milk producing capabilities of the Milking Shorthorn cow while retaining her overall economic advantages, Australian Illawarra Shorthorn, North American Red Holstein and Norwegian Red bloodlines have been introduced in varying degrees to a large portion of the breed.
A large number of modern Milking Shorthorns produce in excess of 20,000 lbs of milk in 305 days while still maintaining industry-leading statistics for health and fertility traits as well as lower than average inbreeding rates due to a diverse, open herdbook.
Milking Shorthorns are relatively trouble-free, leaving youmore time to manage your paddocks. In an extensive study done over a 13 year period on an Idaho dairy owned by a veterinarian, it was found that under the same management conditions, Milking Shorthorns were significantly less prone to disease, particularly in the areas of lameness, mastitis, dystocia and milk fever, than their Holstein herdmates. (Paper presented at the 1995 World Shorthorn Conference by Dr. Martin R. Lee, Jerome, Idaho.)
CALVING EASE AND CALVING INTERVAL
Milking Shorthorn cows are moderately framed and have comparatively small calves that are vigorous at birth and easy to raise. These hardy cows recover quickly and are in condition to rebreed earlier. The 1995 Minnesota DHIA data showed Milking Shorthorn cows with the shortest calving interval of any breed - 12.8 months! The right breed for seasonal grazing operations.
Milking Shorthorn milk can be worth more. On a recent USDA Sire Summary, Milking Shorthorns were listed with the lowest base Somatic Cell score of all dairy breeds, indicating the possibility of an increased resistance to mastitis which is consistent with the Idaho study. In addition, Milking Shorthorn milk has the most favorable protein-fat ratio of the dairy breeds which is an added plus when marketing your milk for cheese.