Home 5 Ag Stories Iowa holsteins known worldwide

Iowa holsteins known worldwide

Photo by Anna Hastert

There hasn’t been a lot of good news about the dairy industry in several years, yet those who raise purebred Holsteins, the most dominant dairy animals in the United States, keep raising the bar on their genetics.

Audio: Profit Matters 7-15-19.mp3

The small town of Waukon, Iowa, up in the North East Corner, receives an unlikely amount of international visitors. That’s because it is home to Regancrest Holsteins, a family operation recognized around the globe for their outstanding Registered Holstein genetics.

The family operation was established in 1951, and third-generation breeder Sheri Regan-Danhof explains how her grandfather, William Regan, set the herd’s high-quality standard…

“He was very passionate about the Holstein cow and he wanted the very best cow he could get. So, he was also very much into being the first to do a lot of things. It really takes a lot of passion and pride in what you do to make that work, and it is kind of infectious to see it. And I was fortunate that I was able to have the opportunity to work alongside my father and to continue that.”

Today, the operation is home to a 900-cow herd and has raised some of the world’s top Registered Holsteins, both bulls in the AI industry and females.

From a young age, Danhof was involved in studying genetics and identifying Registered Holsteins on the farm…

“We use a lot of programs from Holstein USA, one of them being registration. As a young girl, I liked to go out and, at that time, we did paper registrations, and would sketch those calves alongside my father. It’s cool to be able to keep track of them like they’re a part of our extended family.“

Central to their ability to market dairy cattle genetics around the globe, Danhof says, is the Registered Holstein cow…

“Something about the black-and-white Holstein cow is pretty special. That cow, for me, has done great things, whether it is getting people to our farm from all over the world. And we hope that we can do something that works the best for us, and also be able to help someone else improve their herd, as well, or improve their breeding program, as well. It’s very rewarding to have people come back and tell you they had success with something that came from your farm.”

Danhof was recently recognized with Holstein Association USA’s Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder Award during the National Holstein Convention in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Learn more at Holstein USA dot com.

Ninety percent of U.S. dairy cows are Holstein.

Holsteins are most quickly recognized by their distinctive color markings and outstanding milk production. Holsteins are large cattle with color patterns of black and white or red and white.
A healthy Holstein calf weighs 90 pounds or more at birth. A mature Holstein cow weighs about 1500 pounds and stands 58 inches tall at the shoulder.

Holstein heifers can be bred at 15 months of age when they weigh about 800 pounds. It is desirable to have Holstein females calve for the first time between 24 and 27 months of age. Holstein gestation is approximately nine months.
While some cows may live considerably longer, the normal productive life of a Holstein is six years.

  • Milk Production Holstein cows give more milk than any other dairy breed in the U.S. The average Holstein cow produces around 23,000 pounds of milk, or 2,674 gallons, of milk each lactation. With a standard lactation lasting 305 days, that comes out to 75 pounds, or almost 9 gallons of milk per cow per day.
  • The world record for milk production was set by a Holstein cow in 2017 when “Selz-Pralle Aftershock 3918”, a cow from Wisconsin, produced 78,170 pounds of milk in a year.