Over 800 kinds of cows of different breeds are recognized over the world. They come in different variations and are classified in 5 categories: Dairy, beef, dual, draft animals, and sports cows.
A lot of you have come across dairy cows either where they are grazing or in TV commercials. These kinds of cows have different looks and produce slightly varied milk in terms of vitamin and protein contents. Dairy cows are classified into six basic types. They are Holstein-Friesian, Ayrshire, Canadienne, Jersey, Guernsey, and Brown Swiss.
The Holstein-Friesian is the most common of all types of dairy cows because of its highest milk production rate. It is common to find mixed breeds of any two of the species above to produce the strongest cows and the most milk. Because the pure Holstein (which is black and white in color) is not as strong as the other breeds, they are sometimes crossbred with Ayrshire or Jersey to produce stronger breeds.
The kinds of cows that produce milk (dairy cows) are not as heavily built as beef cattle but their rib cage is usually wide. They have large udders that hold milk. However, they need to give birth before producing milk.
Dairy cows eat alfalfa, soybeans, corn silage, and hay. Because of their milk production, protein is usually included in their food. Maintaining these foods is very expensive and could go for thousands of dollars per month for a medium sized dairy farm. The other alternative for farmers is to grow their own food for the cows on a piece of land. This alternative is cheaper compared to the daily cost of feeding the animals from already prepared food.
There are different kinds of cows mainly reared for beef. They include Scottish, Belted Galloway, Pinewoods/Florida Cracker, English Longhorn, Texas Longhorn, Romagnola, Aubrac, Belgian Blue, Pinzguar, Piedmontese, Brahman, Simmental, Shorthorn, Salers, Maine Anjou, Limousin, Gelbvieh, Chianinia, Charolais, Angus, Hereford, Marchigiana, and Red Angus. The Angus (Black cattle) has the highest beef production rate.
There are equally crossbreeds of the above varieties, including: Brales, Bramousin, Simbrah, Braford, Bonsmara, RX3, Beefalo, American, Ranger, Barzona, Santa Gertrudis, Senepol, Santa Cruz, Droughmaster, Beefmaster, Brangus, Chiangus, Red Brangus, and Murray Grey.
Of course there are dual purpose breeds, including, Dutch belted, Randall, Red Poll, Kerry, Dexter, Devon, and Devon South.
These kinds of cows have their different adaptation environment where they normally grow well and produce better.
The Bos Taurus indicus (or Bos indicus or zebu) grows well in hot climates but is equally adapted to cold climates. These kinds of cows are normally found in Africa, north-eastern Asia, and Europe. They are popularly called taurine cattle and are more commonly crossbred with indicus in hot regions.
There are more species of beef cows found in other parts of the world (both domesticated and wild ones). Some of these are hybrids of the indicus and taurine cows. Some examples are the Selembu cattle breed of Bhutan and India with gayal genes, the North American Bufalo with bison genes, Nepal,s Dzo which is usually bred for agricultural purpose, the Indonesian Madura with benteng genes, and Nepal’s mountain Dwarf lulu.