Population Growth of the Ayrshire Breed

South Africa in General

  • Population of 53 million people
  • A rich and varied history including 20 years of democracy.
  • A young country that plays host to an exotic combination of exciting activities, entertainment and arts.
  • The vitality of its undeniable beauty, exceptional wildlife, and staggering landscapes when coupled with the diversity and friendliness of its people and cultures, has made South Africa one of the fastest growing and sought-after tourist destinations in the world.

The Dairy Industry has been through some tough times since deregulation in 1987.
The number of dairy farmers has decreased from 20 000 in 1987 to only 1830 (census January 2015)

Movement towards lower inputs:

  • Grazing system
  • Larger farms
  • Less grain fed
  • Moved to coastal areas
  • Larger farms with correct management and systems doing very well.


Ayrshire Population

South Africa’s Ayrshire journey began in 1890, when James Rawbone of Somerset West in the Western Cape imported the first Ayrshire herd, consisting of two bulls and 8 cows.

In 1998 there were 5 800 females registered. At present there are just over 90 Breed Society members and more than 15 000 Ayrshires registered in the Country, indicating phenomenal growth.

Graph displaying phenomenal growth

Ayrshire Population Growth


Aiming for Population Growth

  • South African Ayshire Society employed a technical advisor, JD Marais.
  • Move to larger herds on grazing systems has created a demand for a good hassle-free cow.
  • The Woolworths’ sponsored Ayrshire brand has enabled Ayrshire products to command premium prices in the market place.
  • With the successful and high-profile branding of Ayrshire fresh milk, yoghurt, cheese, cream, ice-cream and smoothies.


Ayrshire Genetic Progress

  • Due to the importation of the best genetics from countries such as Canada, USA and the UK, the Ayrshires of South Africa sport some of the world’s best Ayrshire cows.
  • Recent increase in importation of genetics from New Zealand
  • Presently investigating importation from Scandanavian countries


10 Largest Ayrshire Herds 2018/19

Anton Homsek Family Trust, Free State 2189
MM Abrahams, KZN 1395
Gisanto Boerdery, Free State 1380
Rhodes Food Group (Pty) Ltd, Western Cape 1039
Spies Broers Western Cape 797
PE Loubser Western Cape 488
Dalhein Ayrshires, Free State 479
JJ Wessels, Western Cape 470
Kyksaam Ayrshires, Western Cape 468
KD Lang, KZN 449