The Ayrshire breed cattle originally found in Ayrshire located in the south west regions of Scotland are a specifically bred for their dairy production.
On average, a mature Ayrshire breed cow will weigh anywhere from 400 to 650 kilograms, or 1000 to 1300 pounds. The Ayrshire breed cattle can be observed as having a mostly red coat with white markings with the dominant red color occasionally changing in its tone to a notable dark shade of orange towards a shade of dark brown.
They are renowned for their hardiness and their ability to efficiently convert pasture grass into dairy milk. The breed is popularly favored among cattle men and ranch handlers for their longevity and low incidence of calving difficulty.
Prior to being recognized as the Ayrshire cattle, the breed was traditionally referred to as the Cunninghame cattle or Dunlop Cattle.
Their addictiveness to climatic regions allowed the Ayrshire breeds to be successfully exported to several regions all over the globe where they have been used extensively as cattle docks as they were formerly located at the Cunninghamhead station in Northern Ayrshire Scotland where the breed was effectively used for the purpose loading and export.
The Ayrshire breed cattle are medium in size when compared to some of the other cattle breeds sometimes weighing more than 1,300 pods or 550 kilograms when fully mature. A strong, rugged cattle breed highly adaptable to the majority of management systems used within many of the existing farms today such as group handling on several of the dairy producing farms containing milking parlors and free stalls.
The typical Ayrshire bred cow can be observed as a vigorous breed displaying a strong character with a docile temperament. She has a long wide udder of a silky texture. The Ayrshire breed cattle does extensively well within used confirmation and unlike some of the other breeds they do not have the tendency to be affected by leg and excessive foot problems. These characteristics allow the Ayrshire breeds to be one of the more preferred breeds of cattle in addition to being one of the outstanding dairy cattle breeds bred for commercial use.
Many commercial dairy men have also found this cattle breed to produce highly vigorous calves which are exceptionally strong and easy to raise due to their docile temperament. The average Ayrshire breed cow is moderately rich in butterfat content with a proportionately high percentage in protein.
The Ayrshire Breeder’s Association program in 2002 recognized an average of all existing Ayrshires to contain a total of more than 17,200 kilograms or 7,800 kilograms of dairy milk consisting of 665 pounds or 300 kilograms of fat in addition to 540 pounds or 246 kilograms of protein.
The Ayrshire breeds originating out of Finland have been occasionally crossbred with the Holstein cattle breeds to improve the hardiness and fertility rate of the Holstein cattle.
The Ayrshire breed cattle are owned and bred in several countries located worldwide. In 1988 within South Africa the Ayrshire breed cattle were found to be a suitable replacement for the Simmental breed cattle as they were used by the company known as Woolworths.
In the country of New Zealand the Ayrshire breed are still today referred to as the Dunlop Cattle breed. Ayrshires have been reported to be located in even tropical countries such as Sri Lanka, Malaysia and several regions of the African continent in addition to the Ayrshires normally found in Finland and Scotland.
The Ayrshire breed cattle were first imported within the United States in 1822 by H.W. Hills, formerly of Windsor within the state of Connecticut. The farmers in New England during this period were in need of a dairy cow with the ability to effectively graze in the harsh rocky conditions and have a high tolerance to extreme climatic conditions of intolerable cold weather.
This led to the importation of the Ayrshire breed cattle as their climate in New England was observed to be similar in characteristic to the climate in Scotland.
This led to the Ayrshire breed cattle as a popular breed found in New England and as they became increasingly renown they were adopted by many other states within the United States of America with the largest number of Ayrshire registrations observed within the states of Pennsylvania, new York, Ohio, Vermont, Illinois, and Wisconsin.
Within the United Kingdom the Ayrshire Cattle Society of Great Britain founded in 1877 as a breed society highly motivated in keeping the Ayrshire breed as one of the main sources of dairy products within Great Britain.
The majority of the existing functions of the society is primarily driven by its current membership beginning at the junior levels right up to the local club events and are generally monitored by guiding policies created by a council of breeders governing the day to day operations of the Association.
This society has the additional responsibility to record and catalog all ancestry records in a fully computerized Herd-book giving detailed schemes and contributory results offering linear proofs and genetic analysis for individual breeds and total population.
The Ayrshire Cattle Society of Great Britain marketing department provides an extensive variety of Ayrshire related genetics available locally and overseas.
The Association hosts an annual meeting during the month of May allowing all members to interact with each other keeping up to date with the latest news, events and available cattle bred for sale relative to the Ayrshire breed cattle.
The United States Ayrshire Breeders Association located in Columbus Ohio provides a detailed list of available breeders where ranchers and cattle men can actively purchase their seed stock for their herds.
American Dairymen located in Des Moines Iowa is a division of the Heartland Communications Group known as a marketing and publishing company serving the American Agriculture Community for more than 30 years.
One of the more recognized listed breeders are Rock Creek Dairy located in Farmington California.