The Magnificent Seven: Ayrshire

Palmyra Berkely P Ruth-ET - Grand Champion Ayrshire - World Dairy Expo 2017
( Palmyra Farm )

Profitability and efficiency have emerged as key concepts in Ayrshire breeder circles over the past decade and brought about major changes to the appearance of cows in the showring, says Becky Payne, executive director of the U.S. Ayrshire Breeders’ Association. “We want to combine what we’re already known for---health traits, low somatic cell counts, reproductive performance and long herd life---with a cow that has good depth of rib and good feet and legs,” she says. “We’re also looking to have a more moderate-sized cow that has a huge capacity.”

One sign breeder efforts have been paying off: Interest in Ayrshires on the part of registered breeders already involved with other breeds has picked up steadily in recent years. “If you look around at World Dairy Expo, you see more show strings with multiple breeds,” Payne says. “With Ayrshires, people are finding they can be competitive in the showring for maybe a little less investment than with some of the other breeds.”

Commercial dairy producers are taking notice as well. “People are finding Ayrshires are hardy,” Payne says. “They do well in places where it gets really hot; they do really well in the cold; they’re good foragers and good grazers. You can put them to work in just about any management scenario.”

 

 
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