Familiar with Girolando cattle? A dairy mix comprised of Holstein and Gyr, the breed is gaining popularity in Brazil in particular! Find out more here.
- During the 1940s, Brazilian and Dutch breeders collaborated to create a breed that would thrive in both countries’ conditions, particularly the harsh heat of Brazil. Today’s Girolando cattle are 5/8 Holstein and 3/8 Gyr.
- Girolando cattle have spread rapidly across Brazil, and the breed now produces a whopping 80% of the nation’s total milk!
- The breed was registered officially in 1989 by Brazil’s Minister of Agriculture.
- A Brazilian project called ‘Program Girolando’ was introduced to assist in strengthening the breed and solidifying the breed standards.
- Their coats vary from completely black to black-and-white. However, if the breed-percentages differ significantly from the breed standard, then the colours may range into browner shades.
- At about 30 months, Girolando cows can start mating. They have great longevity, reducing the need for herd replacements. Some cows calve till they reach 15 years of age.
- Cows are excellently suited to thrive in hot climates. Their skin pigmentation, udder capacity, teat-size and foraging abilities allow for cows and their offspring to be fully nourished in the Brazilian heat.
- Girolando cows reach peak milk-production at ten years of age, and the average volume per lactation is 3,600kg. Their milk is 4% fat.
- All Girolando cattle have strong legs and sturdy hooves, allowing them to adapt to tough terrains. They also have hybrid vigour, and their best traits are often passed on to their offspring.
- Girolando cattle are also resistant to disease, and rarely suffer from parasitic infections.
- Although primarily a dairy breed, Girolando cattle can be used in beef production. They usually gain about 1kg each day, and their carcass often has evenly distributed fat across the body.
- Girolando are known for their pleasant disposition and can be quite docile and easily handled. However, it’s important to always be cautious around all bulls, regardless of breed! Check out our article on Bull Safety to remind yourself of the necessary precautions.
For a more general overview of how to choose a breed that suits your farm, you can also read our article on Beef Cattle: Choosing the Right Breed for You.
Photo Credit: Fazenda Estrela do Sul