Ayrshire: The first cows of this breed were thought to have arrived in New England from Scotland's County Ayr in the early 1820's. Well adapted to rocky farms and harsh winters, the Ayrshires thrived, eventually spreading to dairy farms all across the country. Average output is 17,000lbs./7,711kg (~2000 gallons) of milk per 305 day-cycle/year, with 3.9% butterfat, 3.3% total protein.Brown Swiss: Believed to have originated in the Alps of Switzerland, these hardy animals are tolerant of harsh climate and produce large quantities of milk, close behind the Holsteins.
Officially recognized as a breed in the U.S. in 1906, the first small group of cows arrived here in 1869. Though few animals were actually imported, this hasn't stopped their steady growth in number, and today, the Brown Swiss are very important members of the dairy industry. Average output is 21,000lbs./9525kg (~2450 gallons) of milk per cycle with 4.0% butterfat, 3.5% total protein. Guernsey: As their name suggests, these cows hail from the British Isle of Guernsey in the English Channel.
Well-bred by monks from select French Norman/Breton cattle lines (Alderneys from Normandy, Froment du Leons from Brittany), the first to arrive in the U.S. were brought by ship in 1840. Guernseys are small, about three-fifths the size of a Holstein, but produce up to 14,700lbs./6,350kg (~1700 gallons) milk with 4.5% butterfat, 3.5% total protein each cycle. Holstein-Friesian: Originally bred in Northern Germany, and the North Holland/Friesland regions of the Netherlands.
These familiar black and white cows were selectively bred to make large quantities of milk from the area's most abundant natural food source- grass. First brought to the U.S. in the late 1850's, their ready adaptibility, and economic production of large volumes of milk relative to other cows has made them common on dairies worldwide. Figures for average milk output range up to 28,000lbs./12,700kg (~3260 gallons) per cycle, with 2.
5-3.6% butterfat, 3.2% total protein. Jersey: Developed on Britain's Isle of Jersey, close to the Isle of Guernsey just off the coast of France. With a history as a pure breed that dates back several hundred years, they are descendants of stock from the French region of Normandy. The 1850's saw the arrival of the first Jersey's in the U.S. Like the Guernsey, they, too, are small, but produce relatively large amounts of milk- on average, 16,000lbs.
/7,260kg (~1860 gallons) per cycle, with a high butterfat content of 4.9%, total protein 3.7%. Milking Shorthorn: Part of the Shorthorn cattle breed originally developed for beef in Britain, descendants of these moderate producers were bred and selected for milk rather than meat. Arriving in the U.S. in 1783, the first mulit-purpose Milking Shorthorns provided the early settlers with not only milk, but meat and pulling power as well.
A typical cow produces 15,400lbs./6,990kg (~1880 gallons) of milk per cycle with a butterfat content of 3.8%, total protein 3.3%.See Also: Cow And Gate Growing Up Milk 1-2
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CowsDairy ProductsMilkFoodWhat is the best cow breed for healthy milk?Marilyn Schorin, 30+ yrs experience food, beverage, restaurant industry, PhD nutritionAnswered 53w agoThe variations in butterfat and protein may be significant if you’re planning on owning a cow and selling the milk. But they are less important if you’re buying milk. Variations in calcium are not significant. In the United States, most milk is fortified with vitamin D to eliminate seasonal variations.
If using the milk for cheese-making, you’ll find the fat composition will have a significant impact.Pasteurization of milk will reduce harmful pathogens. Although there has been an increased preference for ‘raw’ milk - i.e. unpasteurized, there have been a number of health problems associated with raw milk consumption.So ‘healthy milk’ is more a product of cleanliness, pasteurization, and safe handling than of a particular cow!Zach KindingerAnswered 23w agoChannel island cows, the guernsey and jersey breed produce the ‘heathiest milk.
’ In the US the vast majority of dairy is produced by Holsteins. They are bread for volume. Channel island cows have vastley higher levels of omega 3, beta casein a2, beta caroten, and have higher levels of protein, vitamins A and D, cream, and calcium.Another consideration is how the cows live. A cow in pasture will have healthier milk than grain fed cows who live their lives in a milking barn.Aria Kae Broeka, Pediatric Occupational Therapist (1998-present)Answered 53w agoAny milk cow breed.
Healthy milk isnt about tge breed its about how you raise and nurture the cow. Whether you raise it organically or pump it full of hormones and antibiotics. Today in the USA all milk sold commercially has to be pasturized (heated to kill bacteria) by law and, i think, homogenized.Dean Bonczynski, I raised cattle for thirty years and my dad did before meAnswered 52w agoWe didn’t raise cows for milking, but the best breed for milking would probably be Jersey or Guernsey.
I have heard their milk is a little more rich in nutrients.Stijn Hommes, Foodie with experience in production, development, specification/labeling and chemical analysis of food.Answered 53w agoThere’s a slight variety in the amount of fat and protein in the milk of different cow breeds. There is relatively little difference in the amount of protein and lactose (milk sugar). However, that doesn’t mean that the milk of one breed is healthier than the other, because you get your nutrients from all the food you consume.
Don’t focus on just one food or beverage. It’s the combination of foods and drinks consumed over a longer period of time that makes your diet healthy or not.Besides, during the production of milk, milk fat is removed entirely and subsequently added back in the specific amount required by the product (3,5% for whole milk, less than 0,5% for skimmed milk — and everything in between).  In other words, whatever the difference is per cow breed, that difference will be largely gone once you buy your milk.
Footnotes Milk Composition Why Any Milk but Whole Milk Is Garbage Fat free Ultra Filtered Understanding Types of Cows MilkStan Harris, Like to cook. Love to eat.Answered 53w agoWhat is the best cow breed for healthy milk?There is no answer to the question because there’s no healthy or unhealthy milk. All foods are healthy provided one eats a varied diet and does not habitually overeat.Some breeds like Jersey yield more milk fat than breeds like Holstein.
Myself, I do not consume milk as a beverage, but whether one likes milk with more or less fat is purely a matter of personal taste.