Holstein Friesian Cattle Pros And Cons – Should You Get One?

Holstein-Friesian is a breed of cows that originated mainly in the north of the Netherlands and Friesland. The most important characteristics of this breed are its large size, high milk production, and its striped body with its black and white speckled signs.

They are clear and specific signs, not a mixed appearance. It was only widespread in Europe, but it was brought to the United States when the Dutch colonized New York and brought these cattle with them.

Then, it disappeared later from it when the Dutch ceded the colony to the British. It returned again to the United States during the nineteenth century when the Netherlands exported Holstein to the United States. From that time Holstein occupied first place in milk production in the United States.

Holstein, like any breed of cow, has advantages that make it competitive among other breeds and also has some drawbacks, so if you are going to buy a Holstein Friesian cow, the following lines will be very useful to you.

We are discussing the most important advantages and disadvantages of Holstein Friesian in a detailed and simple way.

Holstein Friesian Cattle Pros And Cons

3 Holstein Cows

I always like to mention things briefly before moving into the details. Here are what we think are the most important to know pros and cons of Holstein cows:

Holstein Friesian Cattle Advantages

  • Early maturity 
  • The highest milk production among all breeds
  • Good disposition
  • Very profitable
  • Fine and tender meat

Holstein Friesian Cattle Disadvantages

  • Poor heat tolerance
  • The dangerous mood of bulls
  • high maintenance requirements
  • Very high appetite
  • Short production life
  • Low milk fat
  • Poor Fertility 

Now, let’s move into the details part:

Holstein Friesian Cattle Pros

Here is why we think Holstein cows are a must in any dairy farm:

1. Early Maturity

One of the most important features of the Holstein breed is that it matures early, as Holstein cows can be bred at an early age when they are 13 months old! Weighing about 800 lbs. but it is preferred to wait a little longer to be more prepared for pregnancy and childbirth.

The Holstein gestation period is approximately nine months. It is preferable that Holstein cows give their first birth when they are between 23 and 26 months old.

2. The Highest Milk Production Among All Breeds

Holstein cows are milking machines, as some call them, as they convert all the feed they eat into large quantities of milk directly.

They are at the top of the list in milk production. Also, her udder is easy to milk. A Holstein cow produces an average of about 19,000 kg of milk throughout its life! with a production rate of about 25,000 pounds of milk (about 2900 gallons) per year. Her cycle of lactation or milking lasts about a year.

You may want to read:

3. Good Disposition 

They have a good and social nature. They like to be in herds and do not want to be alone. Holstein cows are also gentle and easy to deal with without problems if a suitable environment is provided for them.

4. Very Profitable

Holstein cows are available and easy to obtain. Their prices are not high for the profits they bring compared to other breeds. They are also very profitable.

A recent study conducted by Michigan State University evaluating the costs and revenues of Holstein and Jersey cows managed, in the same way, showed that Holstein cows had a return of about $ 456 more profit per cow per year than Jersey cows.

5. Fine And Tender Meat

Holstein gives marbled tender and tasty meat. The most skilled chefs serve it in their dishes and cook it in a delicious way, often in a rare or medium-rare way. Which makes it retain its delicious natural flavor.

Holstein Beef contains fat that gives it an extra creamy richness adding to its flavor. Holstein meat is soft and pleasant to eat because it has less muscle fat and less connective tissue.

Holstein Friesian Cattle Cons

Here are 7 disadvantages of Holstein cows that you might not know:

1. Poor Heat Tolerance

One of the main drawbacks of Holstein is that it is a poor heat tolerance breed. When the weather around them changes, this is reflected directly on them, reducing their production and deteriorating their general condition.

2. The Dangerous Mood Of Bulls

They get tense easily when stressed and are less likely to get into trouble. When a Holstein bull gets angry, he is evil and very dangerous.

3. High Maintenance Requirements

This strain does not thrive without a great deal of attention. Holsteins will remain healthy when kept in a well-protected, luxurious environment. But when exposed to any change in its environment, it may collapse completely. They do not acclimatize in poor-quality pastures. It may also give poor meat if it does not receive the good feed.

One of the defects of Holstein cows is that it is prone to lameness, udder infections, dystocia, and metabolic disorders.

4. Very High Appetite

The Holsteins are known for their great appetites. They may be the most consuming breeds of feed. The Holstein milking cow consumes daily from 21 to 26 kg of feed. It rarely keeps anything from its food but rather devours it all and asks for more. Which may increase the cost of its food, but its high production of milk offsets food costs.

Related Article: What Do Holstein Cows Eat? 9 Things That You Should Feed To Your Cow!

5. Short Production Life

Some cows live and remain productive considerably longer than Holstein cows, which have an average lifespan of only about four years.

6. Low Milk Fat

Holstein cows give milk with a low percentage of fat, which leads to a thin layer of cream and butter. They also produce milk with small amounts of protein.

7. Poor Fertility 

The Holstein breed has a lower fertility rate than other breeds, and its cows are notorious for dystocia.

Some studies have reached conclusions about the relationship between the level of milk production in the Holstein breed and fertility. Stating that the high productivity of milk has a major role in the decrease in the fertility of Holstein cows.[1]

It was found Inappropriate management (malnutrition and environmental factors) has a significant impact on the reproductive performance of high milk-producing cows and may contribute significantly to poor fertility. Hence, improper management of high milk-producing Holstein cows significantly affects and reduces their fertility rate.


Which cow is better Jersey or Holstein?

For-profit and the market, Holstein will be more profitable compared to Jersey. Because Holstein cows produce large amounts of milk that outperform Jersey cows. Holstein cows produce about 19,000 liters of milk during their productive life, while Jersey cows produce about 13,000 liters of milk throughout their productive life.

Nevertheless, Jersey is superior to Holstein in some matters, such as being more fertile than Holstein cows, more adaptable than Holstein cows in different conditions, and more resistant to diseases. Unlike Holstein cows, which collapse when exposed to any change in their environment, whether a change in temperature or the level of food and care.

The nutritional value of Jersey cow’s milk is higher than that of Holstein’s milk, which lacks protein and fat. Holstein cows also are also more prone to dystocia than Jersey cows. as they give birth to large calves weighing up to 45 kg, while Jersey cows give birth to small calves weighing 25 kg.

What is the difference between Holstein and Friesian cattle?

There is no difference as these two names refer to the same breed of Holstein Frisians. but it is known by one of the two names in different countries.

The name Holstein is the well-known name for Holstein Friesian cows in North America. While the term Friesian is used in some countries such as the United Kingdom and Ireland. 

What are Holsteins good for?

Very good at producing milk. It is the main source of milk in many countries.

What are the undesirable traits of a Holstein cow?

Its milk is low in fat and protein, and it does not adapt to changes in temperature.

Doaa Salah Profile Picture
Doaa Salah
The shy one (too shy to put her photo) and the only girl in our team! Doaa is a veterinarian who is passionate about writing content. She knows a lot about animals and birds, as she has been studying them for many years now. Her goal? She is researching and learning to convey to you all the knowledge she have and what's new about farming.