Modern vs. Traditional Holsteins

By Betty Sue Robie

We have a small, grass-based, family dairy and have been selling raw milk, raw milk cheese and other farm products. The information you provide helps considerably.

We have a mixed herd of Jerseys and Holsteins.  When all the trends for dairy farms were going in the direction of quantity, we stayed with the bulls whose daughters had the highest milk quality.  We didn’t stress our Holsteins at all.  As a matter of fact, our highest butter fat cow is a Holstein who most recently scored 6.3 in butter fat.

Our Holsteins consistently keep up with the Jerseys in solid counts, and they certainly don’t need antibiotics to keep them healthy.  So the Holstein cow should not be condemned when it isn’t the breed that ought to be boycotted, but the genetic practices that have no concern for milk quality.

Betty Sue Robie
Watsonville, California

Letter to the Editor of Wise Traditions, published in the Fall 2007 issue

Editor’s response: Your point is well taken. When we talk about “modern Holsteins,” the stress is on “modern.”  Holsteins that do well on grass and produce milk with a high fat content are fine. We have made some adjustments at to reflect this fact.

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