The Ayrshire breed is known to efficiently produce large quantities of high-quality milk from forage and is renowned for foraging ability. Characterised by longevity, ease of management and overall good health with the ability to thrive in extreme conditions, the Ayrshire cow produces margins to keep a business performing profitably. The milk which comes from an Ayrshire cow contains a good balance of butterfat and proteins which contributes to taste and is often sought after for processing.
Type traits within the breed help to achieve the ultimate economic dairy cow. The breed is known for her strength of dairy character showing great width through her rump structure. She excels through the mammary system with strong udder attachments and good test placement. The structure of her legs and feet enables great locomotion, which allows the breed to be ideal for all terrain and adapt to any type of environment.
With the progression of genotyping within the Industry, the Ayrshire breeders have access to a higher reliability of the information provided to them to enable more informed choices in their breeding programmes. Modern technology has provided options for sexed semen use, which breeders have adopted and embraced to advance the genetic potential of their stock.
Being a smaller, alternative dairy breed, there will always be challenges, but with the passion and enthusiasm of its breeders and members, the breed will continue to thrive and prosper for the next generation. That next generation of breeders are of great importance to the Ayrshire Cattle Society and regular events aimed at this sector of the membership allow tuition, knowledge, and experience along with creating new friendships.
Economic milk production is the principal aim of any dairy farmer where the inputs to a herd must be in balance to the milk each cow produces. The Ayrshire has demonstrated that her efficiency and adaptability have secured profitable businesses for many breeders in the United Kingdom.