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11 Best Cattle Breeds for Your Farm or Ranch | United Country Real Estate

Posted by abreitenbach on May 6, 2022

The Best Cattle Breeds for Your Farm or Ranch

Are you looking for the best cattle breeds to start your farm? All cattle may look the same, but there are different types. Generally, a single cow can cost anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 USD. With such a costly initial investment, you want to make sure you’re getting the right one.

In this post, we’re going to talk about the different cattle breeds and how to choose the perfect one for you. Just remember that there is no such thing as the “best breeds of cattle”. Each breed has its pros and cons.

Question to Ask When Choosing the Right Cattle Breed

Your farm goals will predict the best breed of cattle for you. Here are some questions you should ask yourself:

  • Are you raising the cattle for dairy or beef?
  • What is your budget for the initial purchase?
  • What’s the initial production goal?
  • What are the profit goals for the first year of operation?
  • How much is the operating cost?
  • What breeds will thrive best in your climate?
  • What and how to source food for the cattle?
  • What are the local laws when it comes to raising cattle?
  • How much space do you have for grazing?
  • How hard would it be to manage cattle throughout the year?
  • Do you have access to medical care for the cattle?
  • Where will you get the cattle? Is it from a trusted seller?

Once you’ve made the decision, the next step is to figure out the best breeds of cattle for your farm.

The Top Choices By Farmers

Hereford Cattle

These are considered one of the best breeds of beef cattle. The Hereford cow is friendly and low-maintenance. They’re perfect for farms with wide-open pastures, and they can tolerate the heat and cold easily.

Due to their coloring, you’ll want to make sure they have easy access to a shed for sun protection. Cared for properly, they have a high yield rate with quality beef. Look through the Hereford Association for more information.

Angus Cattle

Most regard the Angus cattle as the best possible source for beef. Their muscular physique produces bright-red lean meat with exquisite marbling.

Angus cattle aren’t as docile as the Hereford. Their mood is very changeable, so you need to be careful around them. The breed can tolerate a little heat, but they prefer the shade on hot days.

The Angus breed cattle comes in different types: Black angus and red angus cattle.

Angus cattle are considered to be two different breeds, but there’s no genetic difference between black and red ones. Some people think that they’re more sustainable than other types of beef

Find out more through the Angus Association.

Is Red Angus Better Than Black Angus?

Red Angus is considered to be better than the black one because it has higher marbling and lower intramuscular fat levels.

Red anguses come from Scotland, where they were first bred by Robert Fleming in 1824 before being imported into North America after World War II; this breed would eventually become known as “Red” Scottish cow when crossed with other breeds of cattle such as Shorthorn sand Herefords .


This breed works for a dual-purpose – both beef and milk. They have a medium build and are highly adaptable – even during hot weather. Their calm demeanor makes them very easy to manage, plus they’re very fertile.

While their milk is pretty popular, their rib-eye muscle is prized for being the biggest of all breeds. Note though that it takes some time for them to mature. Find out more here.


This breed hails from the French region, the Charolais are well-known for their high beef production and beautifully tender and lean meat. They’re adaptable but need extra care during calving season. Some farmers also use the breed for dairy.

Charolais mature pretty quickly and have a high feed conversion rate. Even better, their nutritional needs can be easily met. Be careful though – they can be temperamental. Find out more about the breed from the Charolais Association.


An ideal breed for beef production, the Galloway is smaller than other cattle breeds. This makes them a good choice if you have a smaller space.

Quite adaptable, the Galloway love weeds and are very fertile. However, they’re not good milk producers. Note that they don’t do well in hot weather.

Find out more through the Galloway Association.


A docile breed, the Simmental breed is known for its beef and dairy production. They have an almost pet-like quality which makes them easy to raise. Their muscular build is perfect for lean meat production with very little wasted fat.

These cattle are also very easy-going and can handle stress well. Note that they have a hard time calving, so make sure you buy them from a trusted breeder. Look through the Simmental Association for more information.

Scottish Highland Cattle

This hardy breed is a great beef producer while still keeping costs low. They don’t need extra special feed to produce lean meat that fetches a high price on the market. They can also double as milk producers, but don’t expect too much.

Because of their hairy exterior, they don’t do well in a hot climate. This breed also prefers open spaces to thrive. You can check up on the breed through the Scottish Highland Association.

Milking Shorthorn

The name tells you this is one of the best dairy cattle breeds. They reach maturity early, allowing them to produce milk in large amounts. The milk itself is classified as around 3.5% protein and 3.8% fat.

Make sure you buy from a trusted breeder because this breed is prone to genetic defects. Check out Milking Shorthorn Association for more insight.

Brown Swiss

They can be used for beef or dairy. However, they’re better known for their milk production. Butter made from the Brown Swiss is very popular on the market because of its high fat-to-protein ratio.

They’re also very adaptable with a nice disposition. This breed can live for a very long time, but they also reach maturity at a slower pace. Check out the Brown Swiss Association and make sure you get them from a reputable source.

Holstein Friesian

This breed is a dairy cow with a good disposition. They’re one of the more affordable cattle types on the market today.

However, they’re pretty high – maintenance and would need top-quality food to meet their nutritional requirements. In return, the cow manages to produce large quantities of milk during their 6-year productivity.

The upside is they’re widely available in cattle markets. Find out more about them through the Holstein Association.


The Ayrshire currently holds the record when it comes to milk yield. The quality of their milk is the gold standard as it has this perfect balance of richness.

They’re pretty big, so you’ll need lots of space to keep them happy. Notably, the Ayrshire is very good at finding food, so you can raise them even in arid conditions.

Their calves are very easy to raise, but the breed itself can be stubborn. Check out more with the Ayrshire Association.

Popular Breeds Make Great Cattle

Investing in cattle can cost you a small fortune in initial costs alone. We encourage you to take your time in studying the purchase and consider all factors before deciding.

Going for popular breed of cattle won’t hurt either as long as you know the breeds that are best for your ranch or farm.


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