The aim was to form a breed with high milk
yield and high fat content. The first Estonian Red animals were
entered in the herdbook in 1885.
The head is medium in size, with fairly short
and narrow forehead. The neck is of medium size. The chest is often
narrow and of medium depth.
The withers and back are level; the rump
is wide and of medium length. The legs are of medium length and
correctly set. The skeleton is fairly strong.
The udder is of medium size, glandular.
Coat color is light or dark red; that of the bulls is darker. Body
measurements (in cm) are: withers height 127.5, chest depth 70,
chest width 45.5, oblique body length 157.9, heart girth 195.6,
cannon bone girth 18.3.
Better cows have a wide barrel with a solid
skeleton and muscles. The live weight of calves at birth is 31-33
kg; cows weigh 450-550 kg (maximum 780 kg); mature bulls weight
800-900 kg (maximum 1000 kg).
The milk yield of 164,900 evaluated cows
was 3456 kg with 3.92% fat. The production of Estonian Red cattle
at 77 breeding farms is as follows: average milk yield per cow 3784
kg, fat content 3.98%, protein content 3.30%.
In 12 high producing herds the average milk
yield per cow during a 305-day lactation amounts to 4127-5029 kg,
and fat content is 3.90-4.18%. There are 25 record holders in these
herds: including cow 5338 - 5th lactation, 9610 kg milk, 4.14% fat;
cow 4519 - 7th lactation, 8554 kg of milk, 4.47% fat; cow 2431 -
2nd lactation, 7806 kg milk, 4.65% fat.
Improvement of the Estonian Red cattle is
being carried out by pure breeding and by crossbreeding with the
Danish Red and the Angeln.
The new type with Angeln blood should have
the following performance: milk yield not less than 7000 kg with
4.0% fat, milking rate 1.9 kg per minute, live weight of cows over
According to the census the total population
of the Estonian Red breed in 1980 was 492,000. This breed accounts
for 63.3% of all cattle in Estonia.
Dmitriez, N.G. and Ernst, L.K. (1989) Animal
Genetic Resources of the USSR. Animal Production and Health Paper
Publ. by FAO,
Rome, 517 pp.
Alo Tanavots, firstname.lastname@example.org