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  • Why Register?
  • Registration Options
  • Tag ID
  • Other Identification Options
  • Fees
Why Register?

Plain and simple, properly identified Holstein cattle are worth more money than non-identified animals. Today the Holstein breed dominates the U.S. dairy industry due to superior production, greater income over feed costs, unequaled genetic merit and its adaptability to a wide range of environmental conditions.

All Holsteins Are Eligible To Be Registered
Holstein Association USA has a single, fully disclosed herdbook. Each animal in the herdbook has a calculated, recorded and reported percentage "Registered Holstein Ancestry" or "RHA." This percentage is calculated by averaging the % RHA of the parents and then rounding down to the nearest whole number.

The herdbook has the following categories
of Registered Holstein Ancestry:
100% RHA-NA:
The "NA" stands for North American. These are animals whose entire ancestry can be traced to the origin of the U.S. or Canadian herdbook.
100% RHA-I:
The "I" stands for International. These are animals whose entire ancestry can be traced to the origin of an approved foreign herdbook, or whose ancestry contains a combination of North American and foreign lineage.
0-99% RHA-NA:
These are animals of entirely North American lineage whose entire ancestry cannot be traced to the origin of the U.S. or Canadian herdbook.
0-99% RHA-I:
These are animals of entirely or partly foreign lineage whose entire ancestry cannot be traced to the origin of the respective herdbook(s).



Click here to read an article by
Dr. Tom Lawlor on the
Value of Registered Cattle

(opens in a new window)




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Programs Affected by %RHA

Classification: A herd owner can select a base level of percentage RHA for animals to be included in a herd classification. All animals with equal or greater percentage RHA must be included. The default level, if a breeder does not choose one, will be 87%.

When a herd is classified under the Classic or Standard program, the BAA will be calculated using the scores of all animals that are included in the producer's pre-designated RHA level. Animals below the designated level will not be included in the calculation.

TriStar Production Records: Services available are dependent on the service option the herd is enrolled in. Animals of all RHA levels are eligible for the following features of TriStar:

  • 305-day records available on pedigrees (updated 4x/year)
  • Monthly update of records (305-day, 365-day, complete/extended)
  • Herd Reports
  • Record Maintenance
  • Cow Lactation Profiles
  • Lactation Update Pedigrees
  • Records Verification Program

The following Recognition Programs will require a minimum of 87% RHA:

  • Gold Medal DamSM
  • Gold Medal SireSM
  • Dam of MeritSM
  • Locator ListTM
  • Progressive Breeders RegistrySM
  • Progressive Genetics HerdSM Award
  • State and National Production Leaders
  • 200,000 Pound Lifetime Production Certificates
  • Having official averages presented on herd reports

National Shows: Animals of 87% RHA or higher will be eligible for national shows. This will be recommended to state-level shows as well.

Registration Options

Holstein Association USA is pleased to offer its members
several options to register their animals, to suit their needs and preferences.


  The EASY ID program allows you to submit registration applications on-line. EASYID works with all methods of Official Holstein identification, including Tag ID, photos, and sketches.

  Customers using Tag ID can easily set up and assign varying tag styles for different groups of animal, and order customized tags for their calves.

  EASY ID also allows the user to effortlessly important calf data from several herd management programs. This allows several calves to be registered in a very quick and efficient manner.

  Click here for more information or to download the EASY ID program.


Standard Applications

  Standard paper applications can be filled out and mailed in to the Holstein Association USA office.

  This method can be used with all methods of official identification.

PDCA (Purebred Dairy Cattle Association) Calf Application Page

  Pre-printed registration applications can be sent from the DRPC to the dairy producer each month for the new calves that have been born.

  The producer then only needs to complete the animal's name, hair color, and, if born a twin, the sex of the other twin. Information on ET calves needs to be added as well.

  Photographs are added, unless the herd owner utilizes another method of official identification.

Identification by Phone

  Members can phone in their registry applications by calling Holstein Association USA's Customer Service.

  There is a $5 service fee per application.

  Additional rush fees will apply if rush service is requested.

Tag ID

The Holstein ID Tag Program provides Holstein breeders the opportunity to officially identify their animals with ear tags that are excellent for day-to-day herd management. The Holstein ID Tags, using the Allflex tamper-proof tag, provide a high level of integrity which is essential for a valued identification program. Printing the animal's registration number on each individual tag allows the animal's unique lifetime number to be assigned when the calf is tagged.

Tag ID involves using a combination of two approved identifiers, one of which must be a Maxi or Large ID Tag. The other identifier may be another ID Tag (Maxi, Large, Junior or Mini-Round). A combination of one Maxi or Large with an ear tattoo or freeze brand may also be used. One tag should be applied shortly after birth and the second tag (or identifier) is to be applied before the calf is six months old.


Preprinted Tags (Inventoried Tags)
Producers order a supply of preprinted tags that are inventoried at the farm so the tags are available to apply to newborn calves. The herd owner should order enough tags to last at least 6 months in the size and color they prefer with sequential herd management numbers (i.e. 1500 - 1999). Eight colors are available to select from.

Customized Holstein ID Tags
Another popular option are the Customized Holstein ID Tags. In this option, the producer inventories one Holstein ID Tag (Maxi, Large, Junior, or Mini-Round) for each calf that is applied at birth. The Customized Tag(s) are automatically ordered when the calf's ID is submitted to Holstein Association USA using the EASY ID program and sent to the producer, to be applied before the animal is six months old.

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Any of the following information may be printed on Custom Tags:

  • Date of Birth
  • Barn name
  • Sire's Short Name
  • Sire's NAAB Code
  • Dam's ID number or name
  • Dam's ID and calf's date of birth (on one line)
  • User defined text (prefix, farm name, etc.)

As illustrated, information can appear on one or two lines on the tag. Customized Tags are available in the Maxi and Large size (only one line format for Large Tags).

Customized tags are a great value and allow for easier management, as they provide important information visible on each animal. The laser printed tags are highly visible and are guaranteed not to fade for the life of the tag.

click on image to view larger

American ID Numbering System
Example: 61234567
The Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding initiated the American ID numbering system January 1998. The goal is to establish a unique, lifetime number for each animal for milk recording (DHIA), breed registry, genetic evaluations, and animal health. The American ID number does not imply that an animal is registered, thus a producer may use this numbering system for all of their calves, even if they have a mixed herd (registered and grade). Producers should not assign more than one American ID number to the same animal.

840 Numbering System
Example: 840003123456789
840 ID numbers are official numbers issued by USDA (as opposed to the standard American ID Numbers, which are issued by breed associations), and may only be printed on USDA approved eartags. The "840" number replaces "USA" in the animal's ID number, and represents the U.S.'s country code.

Other Identification Options

Aside from Tag ID, members have several options to officially identify their animals for registry.

ID Option
Identifiers Required
Identifiers need to be
in place by:
Application Age Requirement
(one or both sides)
Clear photo(s) of either or both sides, showing the head, tail, & inside of the legs
Any age
Any age
(one or both sides)

Sketch of either* or both sides, clearly showing the color markings of the face, tail & inside of the legs

*If one side is sketched, either a metal USDA uniform series ear tag or approved Holstein ID Tag is required
Any age
Any age
Tag & Tattoo

1 -- Tattoo
1 -- Holstein Tag

Either at 10 days
Both at 6 months

6 months
Tag & Freeze brand (TNF)

1 -- Freeze brand
1 -- Holstein Tag

Either at 10 days
Both at 6 months

6 months
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

1 -- Holstein Tag
1 -- RFID Tag

Either at 10 days
Both at 6 months

6 months

Registration Fees
Age at Registration State and
National Member
National Member Only Non-Member

   Under 3 months




   3-5 months




   6-11 months




   12-23 months





   24+ months




   Dead (female only)




Start Up Fees
The fees are based on the membership status of the animal's owner as well as the age of the animal
being registered. A computer lineage search is automatically conducted and included in the fee.
  National Member Non-Member
Under 3 months
Older animals

Related Fees
RUSH Service Fees

Under 6 months of age (per application)
Over 6 months of age (per application)


Re-registration of Transferred Canadian Animal (effective Jan 1, 2002)

* Application to transfer and re-register an animal registered by Holstein Canada must first be submitted to Holstein Canada for the transfer to be recorded in the Canadian herdbook and is subject to Canadian transfer fees. Holstein Canada records the transfer and forwards the Canadian certificate to Holstein Association USA for re-registration.

To qualify for volume discounts, the minimum number of transfers/re-registrations to ONE BUYER must be received from Holstein Canada AT THE SAME TIME.

1-24 applications


25-49 applications*


50+ applications*


Application by Telephone (Service fee per application)


Change of Animal Name (Limited and only as dictated by Bylaws)


Duplicate Certificates


Official Holstein Pedigree Ordered at Time of Registration


 To have a certificate stamped Dead or Inactive and returned


 Attach actual photographs to certificate



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