Dairy and meat types of cows were in demand at all times and in almost all countries. The only exceptions are the territories where these animals are sacred and it is forbidden to eat them, for example, India. Narrow-profile herds, aimed at obtaining only meat or only milk, are more in demand in huge specialized farms. Universal breeds dominate on medium-sized farms and private farmsteads. That's just about the characteristics of these breeds, we will talk further.
What are the differences
Since then, when people noticed that different types of cows unevenly gain weight and produce different amounts of milk, breeds appeared in the world. The first experiments on the removal of priority qualities began to conduct the ancient Romans. Breeding as a science originated around the XVI-XVII centuries, at the same time three main areas of development stood out:
- meat - in which livestock were raised for the sake of quality meat;
- Milk - here the amount of milk and the level of its fat content were put at the forefront;
- combined - meat and dairy cattle absorbed the main advantages of the two previous directions.
Practice has shown that unitary, that is, specialized cattle need a special diet and more attention, and cows of combined breeds are not so picky.
Dairy and meat species, we consider in the articles "On the dairy breeds of cows" and "On the meat breeds of cows." In the meantime, let's talk about the characteristics of the best representatives of universal breeds.
Simmental cows came to us from Switzerland. These are bright representatives of meat and dairy breed of cows. The first calves were brought to Russia in the middle of the XIX century. Since then, they were actively crossed, until 1980. As a result, several child branches appeared:
- Simmental steppe;
- Ukrainian Simmental;
- Simmental Volga;
- Simmental Siberian;
- Simmental Sychevskaya;
- Simmental Far East.
The animals are large and powerful enough, the bulls at the withers grow up to 140 cm and can gain weight over 1200 kg. The cows are also not small, they are only 5 cm smaller than bulls and, with good care, their weight reaches 700 kg. Even calves are born weighing up to 46 kg. On average, milk yield fluctuates around the figure of 4,000 l per year with fat content up to 4%.
Breeders specializing in meat love the Simmental breed for the rapid growth of gobies. During the first year, the bull gains up to 400 kg of weight. Meat productivity is about 55-60%, the only drawback is the large number of bones in the carcass.
Schwieck cows were bred in the XIV century, their homeland is also Switzerland. In Europe, the animals spread quite quickly. They were loved for good data on meat and milk, and most importantly - for unpretentiousness in feed.
The breed has a pronounced, so-called, meat triangle. The width of the chest reaches 70 cm, and the animals grow up to 130 cm. Cows are stocky, stand confident with wide-set short legs. The coat is short, but thick, with a dense undercoat, which is a great plus in cold climates.
Schwyz breed closer to meat and milk direction. The average milk yield is about 3,700 liters per year, the maximum fat content is 3.8%. The weight of bulls confidently steps over 1200 kg, and the cows gain up to 800 kg. Calves grow quickly and within a year easily gain 350-400 kg.
Krasnaya Gorbatovskaya was bred in Russia by crossing local cows with Tyrolean. Breed is valued for good immunity and high resistance to many dangerous diseases. With a normal diet and enough vitamins, animals can resist brucellosis and leukemia. Even tuberculosis epidemics often bypass the herds of these cows.
The color, as the name implies, is predominantly red, but sometimes there are individuals with white spots. Cows are lighter than bulls. You can't call this breed giant, animals grow only up to 122 cm. With such a small growth, bulls gain up to 900 kg, and cows up to 600 kg. Calves at birth are also small, maximum 28 kg.
Visually, the cow seems slightly elongated. This impression is due to the fact that with a wide back and a strong base of the breast, the breast is no more than 40 cm. The back is slightly sagged, the udder is small but well developed. Milk cows give relatively little, an average of about 3000 liters per year. But the percentage of fat is 4.2%, while champions have up to 6%. Useful yield of meat - 55%.
Bred in Russia at the turn of the XVIII and XIX centuries. You can’t call pureest Bestuzhev cows Russian, here we are dealing with a product of wide selection. Scientists of that time collected several European breeds and added a couple of local breeds to them, the result was successful.
The cows turned out to be economical, rough feed does not frighten them, and they do not make any special claims to the assortment. Animals are resistant to leukemia and little susceptible to tuberculosis. General immunity is also good. The colors are mostly red, but the Bestuzhev cows are lighter than the red Gorbatovs.
Average height - up to 132 cm. Cows are gaining up to 700 kg, and bulls can weigh up to a ton. Meat productivity is considered to be above average and ranges around 60%. In milk, the Bestuzhev breed can compete even with recognized thrush. The average milk yield reaches 5000 liters. It is considered normal fat content of 3.8%, and on succulent grass, it can reach up to 5.5%.
The product of the selection of Soviet scientists, the breed was bred in the 50s of the last century. Homeland is considered to be foothill areas of Kazakhstan on the border with Kyrgyzstan. The climate is harsh in those places, so the cows in the feed are more than unpretentious.
Alaut cows have short and powerful legs, a small but strong neck and a medium-sized chest (up to 50 cm). They grow up to 130 cm. A peculiar distinctive feature is a noticeable drooping backside. Gobies grow quickly and in a year and a half gain 500 kg. Moreover, with a rather poor and monotonous diet, weight gain does not slow down.
The weight of adults is on average placed in the combined direction indicators. In cows, it fluctuates around 550 kg, and bulls can grow up to a ton. Meat and dairy rates are also quite high. Useful yield of meat 60%. Milk Alaut cows give up to 5,000 liters per year, the average fat content of the product is 3.9%.
Soviet scientists bred this breed in the late 1950s. Breeding stations were scattered throughout the Caucasus. Therefore, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Dagestan are still arguing over the primacy in the breeding of the Caucasian brown cow. They took the Schwyz, Kostroma and Lebedinsk breeds as a basis. Local Caucasian cows were added to them.
Thick skin and thick wool protect it from the changing mountain climate. The body is dense, the legs, though short, but strong, are generally enduring animal. The head is small, medium height up to 129 cm.
Calves, though small, up to 26 kg, but their cows give birth more often. Plus Caucasian brown - one of the few breeds where twins and even triplets are considered the norm. Cows weigh up to 600 kg, bulls up to 900 kg. The yield of meat up to 55%. With milk, everything is ambiguous. On the one hand, it is comparatively little - 3,500 liters with a fat content of 3.85%. And on the other - the quality of milk is unique, most of the milk goes to the manufacture of delicacies.
Kostroma cows are considered one of the best combined breeds in Russia. Withdrawn them during the war, officially view recorded in 1945. When breeding, Algausz, Schwyz and local Central Russian cows were crossed. Animals are resistant to leukemia, live quite a long time and generally have good immunity. Special pride is considered high (up to 5%) lactose content in milk.
In the colors you can find all shades of red and gray. The cow is stately, the body is well developed, though the legs are short. Kostroma breed can produce from 4000 to 7000 liters of milk per year with fat content of 3.8%.
Meat productivity, as compared with competitors, is higher - up to 65%. The weight of cows ranges from 500-700 kg, bulls gain up to 900 kg. Calves are born weighing up to 40 kg.
Arctic cattle breeds are a special pride of Russian scientists. It is believed that in Yakutia, the climate does not allow to contain cows. However, even before the revolution, scientists had debunked this myth. They took the local cows as a basis, whom the Sakha people had bred there since the 12th century.
This breed does not have any well-defined color. The color palette is so diverse that even leopard cows are found. They are among the smallest of cattle. The maximum recorded is 113 cm. The head is rather large, the neck is powerful but short. The legs are also short and powerful.
Cows gain weight up to 370 kg, bulls up to 550 kg. Meat yield is 52%. With milk yield, it is also not a lot - a maximum of 1,400 liters per year, but fat content is 5-6%. At first glance it may seem a little, but given the extreme conditions in which these cows grow, the indicators are quite decent.
At the moment, inside the combined direction there is also a division into milk-meat and meat-and-milk cows, here everything depends on which of the animal’s parameters is more pronounced and in demand.
Practicing breeders and extras say that in Russia, the traditionally high demand for milk and meat breeds of cows is higher. Dairy cattle are also bred, but this branch requires more succulent fodder. Below in the table we have combined the main characteristics of the combined direction:
Combined breeds are deservedly considered the best option for private farmsteads and small farms.
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