Vice-president Report from Europe
The global economic crisis is influencing the European milk production enormously. This happens at the same time as we have high costs on feed and the milk price is stabile, however not able to cover costs. Due to this many milk producers are under huge economic stress. We expect price increase of milk in 2013, which is necessary to be able to have a profitable business within milk production.
I believe that the Jersey cow is in a strong position within the upcoming competition with other dairy breeds. One of the important parameters for future milk production in Europe is sustainability. Here the Jersey cow has the advantage of less emission of greenhouse gases, together with an amazing efficiency regarding both feed and energy. It makes the Jersey cow very competitive but it is traits which are important to maintain and develop.
In 2012 we experienced a decline in pedigree registrations which reflected a reduction in government-recorded pure Jersey heifer births too. In contrast, the number of Jersey-cross females born is now almost as high as the number of pure-breds. Jersey-sired crosses exceed the number of all Red breeds combined, probably due to the influence of LIC grazing systems.
Jersey semen sales into pure-breeding herds increased during the year, so we anticipate some reversal. Sexed semen now accounts for 35% of total sales.
The drop in popularity can be attributed to:-
Relatively poor milk prices for Jersey compared with standard milk (ACTION: UKJ now has 2 processors purchasing their supply from fully registered herds only. Progress towards EU ‘Traditional Speciality Guaranteed’ status for Jersey milk is slowly grinding through the bureaucracy)
Milk processor difficulties in handling higher butterfat Jersey milk. (ACTION: 1. UKJ is lead partner in a consortium of agri-charities that has commissioned research at Reading University. Starting in 2011 the PhD project has already demonstrated 40% cheese yield increase for Jersey milk compared with Holstein in a 1k litre micro-vat. Alvis Bros, commercial farmhouse cheese-makers are trialling the research at 18k litre batch volumes. 2. UKJ has established a Jersey subset within a Saturated Fats project being undertaken by National Milk Records and the retailer -Marks & Spencer)
Low cull and bull calf values
Calf rearing difficulties (ACTION: UKJ awaits a student survey of Jersey farm calf rearing practices in the UK and has a farm trial in place with Volac)
Jerseys in France
Production results from 2012 National records - Jersey is a small breed in France, with approx.. 4,500 milk recorded cows. Average production 2012 was 6,155 kg milk, 5.55% and 342 kg fat, 4.04% and 247 kg protein ME. The same production level like much bigger breeds as Normande and Montbeliarde, but less than the dominating breed Holstein (with 1.69 million cows).
Jersey’s effective in France - There are 83 herds in the herdbook which represent around 3,000 cows.
The Jersey demand is growing and our commercial partner sold 270 animals in 2012 from which 150 comes from Denmark. 10 farms have started up with Jerseys during the year 2012.
Nitrogen Legislation - We recently had a problem of injustice against the Jersey breed in France due to the new legislation for Nitrogen spreading. Jerseys are considered in France as large dairy breeds. It is a real problem for many farmers who have Jerseys and do a lot of grazing. We try to explain to the authorities that Jerseys eat less and thus release less Nitrogen in environment than larger breeds, but we are not sure things are going to change.
In other European countries like Denmark, Holland and Germany, Jerseys have the advantage of not being considered the same as other dairy breeds.
Jerseys in Albania
Total no. of cattle is 357,000. Jersey crossbreeds make up about 83,000 or 23.2%, Purebred Jersey cows make up about 22,000 or 6.2%. Total semen doses distributed were 251,000 doses in 2012, of which 20,800 doses or 8.3% was Jersey semen.
Average production for Jersey cows for 2012 app. 3,500 litres of milk, 200 kg fat and 130 kg protein.
Albania dairy production is still dominated by farms with 1-3 Jersey cows. Meanwhile there are some positive movements. We have more and more farms with around 20 Jersey cows and one herd with 130 Jersey cows imported from Denmark. There is a growing interest from the farmers toward Jersey cattle.
Alda-Jersey continued to implement Jersey project in Shkodra and Elbasan areas. For 2013 year is planned to organize the Jersey show in Shkodra region.
Jerseys in Germany
VDJ (German Jersey Association) has 109 members. 46 of these are active breeders.
Number of registered cows in VDJ is 1,560 cows, that figure is up 155 cows compared to 2011.
There are a few hundred cows registered in different Holstein herdbooks, so the total number of registered Jersey cows is about 2,000 in Germany.
Average production of the registered cows in VDJ: 6,117 kg 5.52% and 338 kg fat 4.02% and 246 kg protein
Semen sales 2012: 5,311 doses US (-1.6%) and 3,269 doses Danish (+39.3%)
Most used bulls 2012: Eclipes-P No. 1 for conventional semen. Q Zik No. 1 for sexed semen (794 doses).
26.1% of all inseminations were with sexed semen. 25.9% of all inseminations were with polled bulls.
Isle of Jersey
The cattle population fell slightly during the year with a total population of 4,843 head of Jerseys of which 2,931 are in milk. During 2012 a total of 852 heifers were registered in the Jersey Herd Book with some 800 animals being classified & linear assessed; 32 animals making an ‘Excellent’ classification score. In Jersey all of the Jersey cattle are pedigree registered and linear assessed.
The Royal Jersey Agricultural & Horticultural Society continues to monitor the island breeding program and is collating research on the impact of international genetics in terms of production and conformation. The intensity of selection remains remarkably constant following importation in 2008 as analysis of the registrations processed in the Jersey Herd Book show, and are set out in the table below:
Year 2003-2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Number of bulls siring progeny 119 143 131 124 165
Number of males registered 36 33 41 33 23
Number of females registered 884 965 856 871 852
Average number of females per bull used 7.5 6.7 6.5 7.0 5.2
Number of bulls siring 50% of female progeny 16 21 23 17 22
% females from 5 most popular bulls 26 22 27 28 19
The most popular bulls in terms of heifers registered during 2012 were: SHF Centurion Sultan, Forest Glen Avery Action, Gabys Ballard, SC Gold Dust Paramount Iatola and Home Farm Stuarts Bees Knees. The Premier Sires Championship Cup, a trophy awarded to the sire whose daughters attained the highest number of points awarded at the island shows, was again won by SHF Centurion Sultan, with Blue Bell Buccaneer in reserve place.
The dairy co-operative in the island, Jersey dairy, is achieving increasing success in the production and export of a range of premium branded products, including UHT milk and soft mix ice cream as well as butter and yoghurts. Additional licenses have been issued to allow milk producers to expand their production although milk production is running at less than the licensed quantity.
Dairy farmers in Jersey, along with colleagues in other parts of Europe, have experienced a year of atrocious weather with a wet summer and long cold winter. The effect of this has been a shortage of conserved forage combined with poor quality which has affected milk production. The poor harvest as also resulted in rising concentrated feed costs which, along with general cost increases have put severe pressure on farm profitability. We all hope for a better 2013.
Jerseys in Sweden
In Sweden approx. 2,000 Jersey cows are milk recorded. Production is at the same level as in Denmark, and all breeding is administered by the common AI Coop, VikingGenetics. The no. of used doses of Jersey semen increased to 7,300 in 2012. The interest in the breed is very high, but it is not possible to import live animals into Sweden due to very strict veterinarian regulations.
Jerseys in Norway
During the past 10 years the Jersey breed has grown in Norway especially after the introduction of sexed semen in 2004. Today 1,500 Jerseys are milk recorded. In 2012 the average production was 5,675 kg milk, 5.93% and 337 kg fat, 3.88% and 220 kg protein.
Due to the huge demand for butter in Norway, the National Dairy Company, TINE, has changed the milk price formula in favor of fat. This has led to exceptional demand and high prices on Jersey animals. Unfortunately it is not possible to import live animals.
Jerseys in Switzerland and Italy
Small Jersey countries but well organized and with growing Jersey populations. The Swiss breeders will organize and host the next meeting in the European Jersey Association “European Jersey Forum” along with their 4th National Jersey Show in November.
Italy will host the next European Jersey Forum meeting, presumably in October 2014.
Jerseys in Denmark
The Jersey breed is expanding. Now 70,000 milk recorded cows and 8,000 more than five years ago. Average herd size is 170 cows, 20 cows more than in Holstein herds.
Production increases as well: Average 2012: 6,665 kg milk, 5.93% and 395 kg fat, 4.11% and 274 kg protein.
In the breeding program Genomic selection plays a major role. All animals involved are genomically tested. App 500 bulls are tested each year and approx. 60 are sampled as young sires. The big challenge has been to increase reliabilities on genomic breeding values. We have signed an agreement with the North Americans, but still we haven’t started to exchange breeding values. Right now we are testing 4,000 females and in a few months we will test another 6,000 females to enter genomic data from females into our reference group.
Exports of live Jersey cattle from Denmark has been good over the last year, but affected by financial crises in the Dairy farming industry. A total of 1,650 went from Denmark to 15 different countries. Hungary bought more than 500, followed by France with 250, Holland and England both with 140 and also Germany, Albania and Russia bought more than 100. Also exotic countries like Burundi and Senegal bought Jersey animals last year.
One of the things I have been looking forward to is to receive the book by Hans Nørgaard about the history of the Jersey cow. Unfortunately the editing procedure, has taken too much time of the Bureau, and which also strains the economy. It will be good to see the book and also that there will be an income to WJCB.
The European countries wish to start a strategy process to specify a vision and a mission, which fulfil the expectations of the member countries. To have clear goals makes everything much easier. The Jersey cow has a fantastic future ahead of her in the global milk production and we have to be able to match this organisational. This will be possible with a strong and focused WJCB.