While the famous black and white cows are called Holsteins today, they were first known as Holstein-Friesian cattle. Around 100 BC, a German tribe from the area known as Holstein migrated near Friesland. The Holstein cattle were black, while the Friesians were white. Crossbreeding the two led to the spotted cow that is known today. The Holstein-Friesian cows were continually raised and spread throughout Europe, and eventually imported to United States in the 1850’s. The areas of Holstein and Friesland still exist today. Holstein is a region in the Schleswig-Holstein state of Germany, while Friesland is a province in the Netherlands.
What is a Registered Holstein?
A Registered Holstein is a cow whose lineage, also called a pedigree, is stored in a massive database in Brattleboro, Vermont by the Holstein Association USA. We can trace the pedigree of each Rolling Lawns Registered Holstein back to a pure Holstein cow and bull that were imported into the United States from the Netherlands in the late 1800’s. It took thousands of years of evolution and trial and error before farmers were finally able to find that one bovine species that would ultimately become the most efficient milk producer – today’s black and white Registered Holstein.
Holsteins in the United States
Once the Registered Holstein was introduced to the US in the 1850’s, farmers quickly heard about these amazing black and white cows. Soon, they could be found grazing in fields across the country. While most of the dairy cattle in the US were mixed breeds, farmers soon discovered that crossing their cows with Holstein genetics dramatically increased the milk production of the resulting generations. The first registered Holstein was brought to Rolling Lawns farm in 1920. Soon, all our animals would be registered Holsteins.
Our Cow Families
Dairy farmers refer to a group of closely related animals as a “Cow Family”. At Rolling Lawns, the most loved and revered Cow Family is the “Buffy” Family. The foundation of the “Buffy” Family is a cow named Zehrview Marquis Gay, known by everyone at the farm as “Buffy”, who came to Rolling Lawns in 1969. Buffy’s long-term impact surpassed the high expectations inspired by her beauty and outstanding pedigree. Every female descendant has been mated to a carefully selected bull so that the family’s impact continues.
The Legacy Continues
Today, three generations of this great family grace the pastures and pens at the farm. The young calves in the family have a great legacy to live up to. Their lineage traces back 136 years and 28 generations to a cow named Grietje Reinks, who was imported from Lieve Vrouwen in Friesland, Netherlands, into New York in 1883.
Rolling Lawns has a long history of providing impeccable care and comfort for our Registered Holsteins. The ability to have multiple generations on the farm at one time is indeed rare. Buffy’s family is testament to the unique care that Rolling Lawns Registered Holsteins enjoy each and every day.