Wisconsin has seven breeds of cattle used by the Dairy industry. Let’s take a look at the Milking Shorthorn.
The Milking Shorthorn is said to be “the most versatile of all breeds: docile, produce large volumes of nutritious milk, low veterinarian bills and good longevity. They are easy to manage and easy to calve. They are usually red in color, but they also breed in a roan, which is an even mixture of colored and white hairs on the body.
They can normally produce in excess of 20,000 pounds of milk in 305 days. The Milking Shorthorn is a “dual purpose.” Once their milking days have come to an end, they can be used for their meat,
They have been bred in varying degrees with Australian Illawarra Shorthorn, North American Red Holstein and Norwegian Red bloodlines. As a result, purebred Milking Shorthorns are not common.
This is of concern to many. Efforts are underway to build up the number of purebreds. Less than 2,000 exist worldwide.
The Milking Shorthorn is noted for its high protein to fat ratio which is increasingly desirable in milk marketing. They efficiently convert roughages, including grass, into milk.
This breed has shorter calving intervals and most do not require breeder assistance. They resist disease exceedingly well.
The Milking Shorthorn originally came to the US from England with the first settlers in the 1700s. The first herdbook for the breed dates to 1822, making Shorthorns one of the oldest recorded livestock breeds.
The Milking Shorthorn is also known in the US as the Dairy Shorthorn.