If you look out your car window and spot a dairy cow, it is probably a Holstein. In fact, the
Holstein breed comprises more than 90 percent of all the dairy cattle in the United States. This
breed is easily recognized by its large frame and distinctive black and white markings. The
Holstein breed originated in Friesland, a province of the Netherlands, and was first imported
to the United States in 1852 by Winthrop Chenery, of Massachusetts, under the breed name
Holstein-Friesian. The breed is now commonly known as Holstein.

A Holstein dairy cow will mature to about 1,500 pounds and produce an average of 24,876 pounds of milk per year. This breed’s advantage of high milk production makes it the largest milk producer of all the dairy breeds. Yet, this breed’s milk is low in butterfat (the fat content in milk) and protein. This lack of butterfat and protein is a disadvantage to the producer because the milk is classified as a low-quality product and receives a lower premium.

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