Echo Farm Puddings

Our Flavors

Our Story

Our Cows

Tour the Farm

Farm Blog


Hampton looking very lonely.


About Us
Our Story

More Info...
Bullet Honor Roll
Bullet Herd Health
Bullet Jerseys
Bullet Milking Shorthorns

Breed History: Milking Shorthorns

Breed History
Milking Shorthorn originated in northeastern England in the valley of the Tees River. In 1783, the first "milk breed" Shorthorns entered the US in the State of Virginia. Early settlers referred to these cattle as "Durhams." They became the favorites of pioneers because they offered meat, milk, and power.

The first American Shorthorn Breeders' Association was formed in 1882 to promote both Milking and Scotch (beef) Shorthorns. In 1912, a group of Milking Shorthorn breeders formed the Milking Shorthorn Club to work within the American Shorthorn Breeders' Association. The Milking Shorthorn and beef Shorthorn organization split in 1948 when the American Milking Shorthorn Society was incorporated and took over registration and promotion of the Milking Shorthorn breed.


Breed Characteristics and Notes
Shorthorns are either red, white, red and white, or roan. Roan is a very close mixture of red and white and is found in no other breed of cattle. Animals may be either horned or polled (without horns). The color and horned condition are indicated in the certificate of registry. The breed is intermediate to large in size with cows being approximately 54 inches at the withers and weighing 1,400 to 1,600 pounds in average condition.

The Milking Shorthorn has made tremendous progress in milk production in the past 30 years. This was due to an effective progeny testing program, the incorporation of genes from other breeds, and allowing animals from other countries into the herdbook. Milking Shorthorns are known for their excellent reproductive efficiency and longevity. In addition, the average somatic cell count is lower for Milking Shorthorns than for any other breed. They also are fairly heat tolerant. Bulls not kept for breeding are successfully fed for beef and hang beefy, high-quality carcasses.

The Milking Shorthorn Society's Genetic Expansion Program allows characteristic Milking Shorthorns into the official herdbook and also enables breeders to introduce outside dairy genetics into the breed. A continuing challenge of the Milking Shorthorn breeders will be to continue to select animals for increased protein production to lessen the gap between them and the other major dairy breeds.


Other Information
Milking Shorthorns are one of the oldest recognized breeds and the Milking Shorthorn cow is known to be the mother of 37 other breeds. Milking Shorthorns are gentle for the dairyman to work with. They are hardy cows that do well on home grown forages. Mature Milking Shorthorn cows average almost 15,000 pounds of milk, 500 pounds of fat and 465 pounds of protein in one year. They have the highest protein to fat ratio, making one of the best conversions to cheese. They produce protein to fat at 93 percent and casein to fat of 72 percent. Almost 7% of cows on official milk test produce an excess of 20,000 pounds of milk. The Society estimates there are 15,000 registered Milking Shorthorns in the United States with approximately 25,000 Milking Shorthorns total in the US.


Learn More:
For more information on Milking Shorthorns,
contact the breed association.
American Milking Shorthorn Society
PO Box 449
Beliot, WI 53512-0449

or visit the AMSS website:

(taken from "Learning About Dairy...A Resource Guide for the 4-H Dairy Project," Cooperative Extension Service, June 1996)

(information provided by the AMSS)

View Jersey Information