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German Red Cattle

Red Cattle/Angler have probably existed for over 5000 years in Germany. In Angeln (Schleswig-Holstein) they were first mentioned in writing in about 1600. Planned breeding has been practised since 1830 and there was a central herdbook in Süderbrarup since 1879. Even in those days there was a central commission which are selected all the bulls out of these race. Since 1906 all the herdbook-cattles are connected to the milkrecording.

As a race which is emphasized on milk with a high protein percentage the Red cattle is today in competition especially with Red and White and Black and White. To survive the competitiveness and a big amount of genetic variety today unfamiliar genes from the race RDM (Denmark), SRB (Sweden) and Red Holstein will be adopted to the Red Cattle cow.

The current breeding aim is 9.500 kg-milk with 4,5 % fat and 3,8 % protein. Mature cows should reach about 145 cm height at the rump and a live weight of 650 kg.

The Red Cattle distinguish itself:

  • by a very economic relationship between total feed input and milk yield
  • a high content of milk solids
  • excellent feet and legs and good claws
  • adaptability
  • easy calvings and low calf losses
  • good udder health – low somatic cell score

The young cows grow fast and calve without problems at the age of 24 month. The young bulls have good daily weight gains and acquire a weight of 400 kg at the age of one year. The cattles are although excellent suited for production of rose calfbeef (carcass body weight 145 kg). The production of Red Cattle is influenced in all breeding areas by high content There is an increase in production in Angeln in 1994-2005 because of the consequent selection from

+ 2 048 kg-milk + 68 kg-fat + 75 kg-protein

Therefore there is a result per year for the increase of production of:

+ 158 kg-milk + 5,3 kg-fat + 5,8 kg-protein

Comparable increase of production was reached in other breeding areas of Red Cattle, too.

In Germany there are approximately 20000 Red cows being milk recorded. 15000 of which are registered in the herdbook. These registered cows form the active breeding population from which 100 bull dams per annum are selected for the breeding program on the basis of milk yield, type, udder and leg traits. The bull dams are then, besides a few outstanding young heifers, mated with the best bulls available to produce the next generation of young bulls. Because of their great performance, German Red Cattle have been used to improve the indigenous Red Cattle populations in the following countries for a very long time: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Poland, Denmark and Australia. Recently German Red Cattle have also been exported to Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Japan, The Netherlands, Italy, Canada, Chile, Spain, New Zealand and to the USA.

Author: C.-P. Tordsen