The Ayrshire Breed
The Ayrshire breed originated in the County of Ayr in Scotland prior to 1800, with the first importation to the U.S. around 1822. The breed is medium in size with various red and white markings. Dairymen appreciate Ayrshires because of their efficiency, udder quality, longevity, and ease of care. Additionally, they produce quality milk, which is highly regarded for manufacturing.
Programs offered by the Ayrshire Breeders’ Association in addition to DHIR and Type Traits Appraisal include the Genetic Recovery Program, whereby “grade” Ayrshires can be brought into the herdbook through a three generation series.
The Ayrshire breed has a strong Junior program, presenting awards for production, type, and leadership. Youths with Ayrshires are encouraged to become Junior Members for a one-time fee of $10.00. Junior Membership allows youth to register their Aryshires at member rates and to participate in National Youth Contests.
The Brown Swiss Breed
The Brown Swiss has its origins in the mountains of Switzerland, and is one of the oldest dairy breeds in the world. The first Brown Swiss came to the U.S. in the winter of 1869-70. Today’s Brown Swiss is known for her ability to adapt to any type of dairy setup in any country of the world. Her ‘easy going’ temperament makes her a favorite for youth projects. The Swiss cow is gaining popularity worldwide due to the high protein content of her milk, which is ‘just right’ for the cheese-maker.
The Brown Swiss Breeders’ Association offers a wide range of Junior programs. Free Junior membership allows discounts in registration fees. The Association sponsors four national shows, and special recognition is given to each Junior exhibitor. After each show season, a Junior Bell Ringer program allows participation from all parts of the country, and is similar to a Junior All-American contest.
A Youth Production Contest honors the cow whose 305 day 4% ME record has the highest deviation from herd average. The Cheese Yield Award recognizes a Junior-owned cow with the highest cheese yield in a 30-day period, selected by the Junior. A representative block of cheese is auctioned off for the winning Junior each year at the National Convention Sale, with the proceeds being split evenly between the Cheese Yield Winner and the Junior Activity Fund.
To honor overall participation and achievement in all activities, the Association has two award programs — the Youth Achievement Award and the National Scholarship/Grant. In the Youth Achievement Award selection, district winner receive a watch, while the national winner receives a savings bond and a trip to the National Convention. The Association also awards two $1,000 scholarships or grants each year to members based on their Brown Swiss knowledge, activities, and future goals.
The Guernsey Breed
The Guernsey breed can trace its ancestry back over 1,000 years to Guernsey, a tiny island in the English Channel off the coast of France. The American Guernsey Association (AGA), formerly known as the American Guernsey Cattle Club (AGCC), was founded in 1877.
The mature Guernsey cow weighs about 1,200 pounds and is 55 inches tall with fawn and white markings. Guernseys are very adaptable to many different management conditions, and are known for a desirable disposition and for having few calving difficulties. Guernsey milk has the highest level of beta carotene content of all dairy breeds.
The AGA is well known for its aggressive young sire sampling programs throughout the country. The AGA offers a Total Performance Evaluation (TPE) package that includes linear type traits appraisal, DHIR testing, sire summaries, and many more services.
The Guernsey breed is very proud of the aggressive youth programs it offers. A one-time Junior membership fee is only $5. Through the National Youth Fund, the AGA sponsors the following programs: Outstanding Guernsey Youth Contest, Junior Gold Star Breeder Award, Production Contest, Colebank Scholarship, Merryman Watch Award, National Guernsey Queen Contest, Guernsey Gold Heifer Sale, Quiz Bowl Contest, National Junior Shows, and Outstanding Young Guernsey Farmer Award (AGA members from ages 21-35).
The Milking Shorthorn Breed
Milking Shorthorns are one of the oldest recognized breeds, originating from Northeastern England in the Valley of the Tees River. In 1783, the first Shorthorns entered the United States. Milking Shorthorns are best known for their versatility. This docile breed efficiently converts feed into milk and has a long productive life. The animals are also known for their ease of management and calving.
The American Milking Shorthorn Society was formed in 1948. In 1967, Australian Illawarra semen was introduced to the breed for increased milk production.
The Milking Shorthorn Society has a very progressive genetic advancement program. The society also offers official testing and classification programs, as well as other services to improve the breed.
Junior members under 21 years of age can apply for free membership in the American Milking Shorthorn society. Anyone owning a Milking Shorthorn is eligible. When enrolling, the Junior receives a one year’s free Journal subscription, and reduced rates on registrations and transfers.
A Junior may also join the National Junior Milking Shorthorn Society. This membership entitles the juniors to apply for National Awards at the National Shows and Meetings. These awards include: Junior Progressive Breeder Award, Junior Achievement Contest, Junior Production Awards and National Milking Shorthorn Queen Contest.
The Jersey Breeds
The Jersey breed originated on Jersey Island. Jersey Island is one of the Channel Islands located between England and France. The Jersey is one of the world’s oldest dairy breeds. The first Jerseys were brought to the United States in 1850. The American Jersey Cattle Association was organized in 1868, making it the oldest breed association in the U.S.
Jerseys are found throughout the world because of their ability to adapt to a wide range of management, climates, and geographic conditions. The Jersey breed is noted for its efficiency. Averaging 900 pounds in body weight, the Jersey produces more milk per pound of body weight than the other dairy breeds. The Jersey breed production average is 15,231 pounds milk, 706 pounds fat, and 564 pounds protein. Jersey milk has the highest concentration of milk solids – including protein – among the other major dairy breeds. The high milk solids level means a more nutritious and flavorful fluid milk, greater cheese, and other manufacturing yields. The Jersey is also noted for its reproductive efficiency, heat tolerance, longevity, and refined dairy type.
The American Jersey Cattle Association provides a comprehensive youth program. Youth under the age of 19 who own at least one registered Jersey are eligible for Junior membership. Junior membership allows Jersey Juniors to register animals at lower rates. Eleven Jersey scholarships totaling $7,300 are presented annually to Jersey youth who are attending college.
Other Jersey youth programs include: the Pot O’ Gold heifer sale, All American Junior Jersey Show, production and achievement contests, and awards for participating in local, state, regional, and national shows and judging contests.
The Holstein Breed
The Holstein cow originated in Europe, and was imported to America from Holland in the mid 1800’s.
Today’s Holstein cow is a large black-and-white or red-and-white stylish animal with outstanding milk production. A mature cow should weigh 1,500 pounds. Average production for Holsteins on official testing programs is 22,540 pounds milk and 819 pounds butterfat.
In 1885, Holstein breeders formed the Holstein-Friesian Association of America, today known as Holstein Association USA, Inc. Holstein dairy farmers use the association’s identification, performance, genetic, management and marketing services to improve the profitability of their dairy herds.
Junior membership is available for a one time fee of $15 for anyone under 21 years of age. Junior members receive a membership certificate and supporting educational information. Juniors can register or identify animals at discounted rates. Each year Juniors may enter a variety of Holstein contests. The most widely recognized contest is the Distinguished Junior Member contest, where Juniors receive recognition at state and national levels.
The Red & White Breed
The Red & White Dairy Cattle Assocaition was established in 1964, based on the principles of an open herdbook and the bloodlines of the Red Holstein. Nearly fifty years later, the RWDCA is a strong and growing organization. The breed publication, The Red Bloodlines, links the membership and keeps them informed. Subscribers in over 20 countries receive the latest news on Red & Whites.
The RWDCA strives to encourage and promote the progressive breeding and development of superior Red & White Dairy Cattle by providing breeders with information, programs and services to help track, evaluate and improve the breed from one generation to the next.
The RWDCA offers economical, efficient services in three basic areas:
- Registry for accurate identification of any dairy animal, which includes production recording through DHI and type classification.
- Information needed by Red & White breeders in all facets including sire data, cow features, shows, sales, breeder interviews, international stories and more.
- Promotion of Red & Whites on a worldwide basis, both as a breed and for individual breeders.