Known in its native Holland as Lakenvelder, which means “sheeted field,” these cattle were treasured by the wealthy and nobility who owned them. They can be found with black and white or red and white coloration. The Dutch Belted cattle found in North America are closer to the original breed type than the cattle remaining in Holland today. Holland has imported American Dutch Belted semen in recent years to inject vitality back into the Dutch population of this breed.
Dutch Belteds are long-lived and excellent breeders, capable of calving well beyond their teen years. Their milk is particularly suited for butter and cheese production. With good pasture management, a cow can produce 16,000 pounds of milk in a 305-day lactation period. The cows are known for easy calving and are excellent mothers.
When SVF first began work with Dutch Belted cattle in 2004, we were surprised by how many people apparently recognized the cows. In fact, most were confusing these critically endangered dairy cows with the more common Belted Galloway. Though they share the black and white belted pattern, these are two distinct breeds with very different purposes. The Belted Galloway are mainly found grazing pastures on grass-fed beef farms, whereas the Dutch Belted are extremely rare and found in small-scale dairy operations.