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Red and While Holstein History Now Online

Posted: June 12, 2007

Dr. Larry Specht, professor emeritus of dairy science, has compiled a history of red and white Holsteins, which offers an overview of how the existence of red and white dairy cattle evolved in the United States when all of the early Holsteins imported from the Netherlands were black and white.

Dr. Larry Specht, professor emeritus of dairy science at Penn State, has compiled a history of red and white Holsteins that is now available. In the publication, Specht offers an overview of how the existence of red and white dairy cattle evolved in the United States when all of the early Holsteins imported from the Netherlands were black and white.

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From a series of interviews and research into existing documentation, Specht explains the emergence of the red trait, and how red and white Holsteins came to be accepted as eligible for registration first in Canada and then in the United States. The material centers on the migration of the red hair color trait between the United States and Canadian Holstein populations. He identifies the primary bloodlines and "carrier" animals that succeeded in keeping the trait viable.

Specht said, "I was interested in having the information in written form while it is still possible to research early records and speak with people who knew of the effort it took to gain recognition for the breed."

Dr. Terry Etherton, head of the department of dairy and animal science noted, "This history is a very important addition to the body of knowledge about the Holstein industry, and the emergence and acceptance of red and white cattle. Dr. Specht's contribution is significant, and we greatly value the research he has done."

For accuracy, Specht said he tried to have three sources to confirm the information he found, as he worked to trace the pedigrees back to the foundation animals. His research included studying old herd books, and reading extensively in the Canadian and U.S breed publications, as well as other printed materials referencing early reports about red and white cattle.

Specht remarked that red and white Holsteins have become a strong niche market, encouraged and broadened by "those who want something a little different."

The material carries a 2007 copyright by the Department of Dairy and Animal Science at Penn State.

Specht welcomes comments and additional information so that the publication can be expanded, modified, or corrected as new information comes to light. If you have further information on the breed, feel free to contact Specht at lws1@psu.edu  or write to him at 324 Henning building, Penn State University, University Park PA 16802.