The homeland of the Holstein breed in Europe. The most important historical development of this breed occurred about 2000 years ago in the region now known as the Netherlands, and more specifically in the two northern provinces of Friesland and Northern Holland that are located at either side of Zuider Zee. The original race was the black and white animals of Batavians and Friesians who are the migrant Europeans settled in the Rhine Delta about 2000 years ago. For many years, the Holsteins have been bred and thoroughly selected to obtain the animals that benefit most from the grass, which is the most abundant resource in the field. As a result of the hybridization of these animals, a black-and-white dairy cow with high efficiency and productivity was engendered.
Holsteins quickly attracted attention with their distinctive color marks and exclusive milk production. Holsteins are big cattle with black-white or red-white color patterns.
A healthy Holstein calf weighs 40 kg or more at birth. A mature Holstein cow weighs about 680 kg.
Holstein heifers can get pregnant at 15 months of age when they reach a weight of about 360 kg. It is preferred that Holstein females first calve at 24 to 27 months of age. Holstein pregnancy lasts for nearly nine months.
Some cows can live rather long, while a Holstein's normal productive life is six years.
In 1987, the average production rate for all Holsteins registered in the official US production test programs was 7896 kg milk, 286 kg milk fat and 249 kg protein.
Interest in the hornless breeds in dairy cattle is growing. All breeds have some (natural) hornless cattle. Some of the Red & White breeders paid special attention to breeding hornless cattle. A large number of hornless fathers of both red and quasi-red are on trial right now.
Holsteins have the highest milk production in the world. It has the ability to achieve a unique genetic linked achievement without a biological ceiling. Genetic developments between 1 and 2 percent per year are completely realistic.
They adapt to all management and usage systems. They can be bred in the barn and are equally suitable for meadows. They can be cared for in meadows or in mixed farming systems by grazing twice a year or feeding in the barn during the year. It is not important whether they are held in high or low elevation areas. Holsteins are rather suitable not only for low-cost agricultural systems but also as dairy industry cows in dense agriculture requiring cowsheds.
However, Holsteins are not resistant to heat and diseases in difficult agricultural-ecological areas when compared to natural breeds. Their response to these conditions is in the form of decreasing production capacity. It has been learned through experience that they exhibit different adaptation skills that should be paid attention from the technical point of view during the reproduction period. In the case of hybridization with natural races, calves show higher heat tolerance and higher production figures than in the case of hybridization with other culture breeds.
Holsteins produce spry calves distinguished by rapid growth, early maturation, and easy care. They don't have fertility problems if they have cared well.
They are benign, easy to manage and can be cared for in the barn without any problems. They are also animals living in herds, which cannot live alone, and are resistant to stress.
Holsteins are more than just a dairy breed. These animals also contribute to meat supply worldwide, with a high growth rate in the fattening sector, they produce fine fiber meat. Especially in the dairy production industries, they are hybridized with meat breeds for a better quality beef.
Holsteins which yield the best production by milking twice a day can produce 30.805 kg of milk in 365 days. Unparalleled production, more revenues in terms of feed costs, unique genetic value and adaptation to a wide range of environmental conditions. The evidence of such a credible genetic superiority has created an active export market for Holstein genetics.