Cattle Society of Great Britain and Ireland

The Ayrshire Breed

The Ayrshire Breed offers:

  • Excellent Functional Type
  • Efficient Forage Conversion
  • Aggressive foraging ability
  • Health and longevity
  • Adaptability to all environments
  • Economic and Profitable Milk Production

Originating in South-west Scotland, the Ayrshire Breed was first recorded on an official basis in the 1870's, with formation of the Ayrshire Cattle Society Herd Book in 1877.

The Ayrshire is the ultimate, economic dairy cow and is characterised by high quality, longevity, ease of management and overall good health. Typically, the Ayrshire is a medium size cow with an ideal conformation and who will excel in all dairy farming systems and environments to provide breeders with margins that keep their businesses performing with profitability.

Ayrshires are dominant over other dairy breeds in grazing systems due to their aggressive foraging ability and their adaptability to efficiently produce large quantities of high quality milk from grass. The breed has the proven ability to produce up to 5000 kgs of milk from forage and will easily maintain body condition on low input systems.

The Ayrshire breed currently averages 7,249 kgs 4.24% butterfat and 3.33% protein from 11,000 milk recorded lactating females in the UK. Ayrshires in the top 10% of the breeds performance are achieving averages of over 9,668 kgs milk, butterfat’s at 4.91% and protein levels at 3.63%.

 (Ayrshire production trends provided by NBDC 09/21)

The milk produced by an Ayrshire has a tremendous balance of component levels and produces healthier milk proteins which are easier to digest than those from other breeds which contributes to a great taste and is very much sought after for both bottling and processing. Many Ayrshire breeders are successfully producing and selling their milk directly to local customers, reducing carbon footprint and improving the sustainability of their business.

Economic Milk production is the principal aim of any dairy farmer where the inputs to the herd must be in balance with the milk each cow produces. The Ayrshire breed has proven itself all over the UK to be a low maintenance and economically viable breed.