Jersey and Holstein

Overall, 94 percent of dairy cows come from two breeds - Holstein or Jersey.

That's according to data collected by USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in its recent Dairy 2014. The comprehensive, 246-page document contains a wealth of dairy information.

"Holsteins continue to be the predominant dairy breed," wrote USDA specialists. "Holsteins were housed on 89.6 percent of operations and represented 86 percent of all dairy cows." Those different percentages were due to mixed herds that had more than one breed.

"Jerseys were housed on almost 30 percent of operations, but represented less than 8 percent of cows," continued USDA scientists. The exact number was 7.8 percent among a representative sample of dairy farms located in 17 of the nation's largest dairy states. Data in the Dairy 2014 study represented 76.7 percent of U.S. dairy operations and 80.3 percent of dairy cows.

Rounding out the remainder of dairy breeds were:
  • Other (mainly crossbreds), 4.9 percent of cows nationally; found on 22.7 percent of dairy farms.
  • Brown Swiss, 0.8 percent of cows nationally; found on 10.1 percent of dairy farms.
  • Ayrshire, 0.2 percent of cows nationally; found on 4.0 percent of dairy farms.
  • Guernsey, 0.2 percent of cows nationally; found on 3.3 percent of dairy farms.
  • Milking Shorthorn, 0.1 percent of cows nationally; found on 4.7 percent of dairy farms.
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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2016
March 28, 2016
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