THE HOLSTEIN BREED - A SERIES OF CHARACTERISTICS
The increasing distribution of Holsteins in all
agro-economic zones is the most noteworthy event of the century
in the field of cattle production.
The reasons for this worldwide distribution are
clear as can be seen below.
Holsteins have the highest milk productions in
the world. They have an unequalled genetically anchored
achievement ability which has no biological ceiling. Genetic
improvements of 1 to 2 percent per year are totally realistic.
They constitute a guarantee for milk production
that yields a profit. Not only do they have the highest milk
production, compared to other breeds, but they also the lowest
feeding cost, which therefore results in a better milk price.
Owing to their physical capacity they are able to ingest
nutrients not fit for human consumption and convert them into
milk with the help of enzymes. They represent the type that can
mobilize energy reserves for milk production when shortages
occur during times of high lactation requirements.
They adapt to all management and utilization
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. Neither does it matter whether they are kept in high-lying
or low-lying area. Not only are Holstein suitable for low-cost
farming systems, they are also eminently suitable as dairy
industry cows in intensive farming, which requires the stabling
They have a unique genetic ability to adapt
themselves to widely divergent agro-ecological areas. The
extent to which they have spread as a breed in contrast with
other breeds, is ample proof of ability.
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. Experience has taught that they
exhibit divergent adaptation abilities, which should therefore
receive attention from a technical point of view when breeding.
In the case of cross-breeding with natural breeds the calves
show a higher heat tolerance and higher production figures are
achieved than in the case of cross-breeding with other cultural
These are all reasons that support the argument that Holsteins
will continue to survive both in the near and distant future.
Their technical development in respect of breeding is a
continuous process which enables them to again.
During the process, possibilities for further improvements by
means of new bio-technological procedures and methods can be
created and their application in practice achieved in a short
According to all prognoses the world population will continue
increasing, which means that the need for foodstuffs obtained
from animals will also increase: naturally milk, which is an
indispensable nutrient for mankind, plays an important role.
Holsteins produce vigorous calves distinguished
by rapid growth, early maturity and easy care. If they are
managed well, they exhibit no fertility problems.
The animals appear to be problem-free and
require little care. They are good-natured, are easy to handle
and can be stabled without any problems. They are also resistant
to stress, exhibit a herd mentality and are not solitary
Holsteins are more than just a dairy breed. The
animal also contribute to the meat supply worldwide, have a high
growth percentage in the fattening sector and produce meat with
a fine fiber. In industries aimed exclusively at milk
production, they are cross-bred with beef breeds for a better