Welcome to the World Jersey Cattle Bureau
2008 and early 2009 has proved to be very exciting and prosperous for Jersey SA and all involved. Many new records have been set while the position of the Jersey breed as the largest breed under official milk recording has been strengthened once again.
Late 2008 was characterized by uncertainty, change and challenge when long time Breed Director Poena van Niekerk who served the Jersey breed with excellence in this position for 18 years decided to move on. He joined up with ABS South Africa as genetic consultant and is also now more active in breeding his own Jersey cattle with the herd prefix “Omikron” and Toggenburg and British Alpine milk goats. His exceptional skills are not totally lost however as he is still involved with Jersey SA as consultant to assist in a smooth transition to new management. Tessa Opperman was appointed as Acting CEO of Jersey SA, she has been involved with Jersey SA for 3 years and will be responsible for the administration and day to day management. Wikus van der Merwe was appointed as Technical advisor, he has been involved with Jersey SA on a temporary basis since 2005 and is permanently employed by Jersey SA since 1 January 2009.
A new all-time record number of births were recorded in 2008, the 20 419 representing an increase of 2000 animals over 2007. The total number of registered Jersey animals also increased to a new all-time high of 90 787 representing an increase of more than 5000 animals over 2007! Another important indicator of Jersey growth is semen sales, this also increased to a total of 302 647 over the 290 087 doses sold in 2007. The greatest percentage of semen sold in South Africa is from foreign origin with the local market only having a 20% market share. The Jersey is the breed with the largest market share of all dairy breeds in South Africa, having a 50% share with 35 446 registered animals under milk recording, Holstein is on 40% with 29 079 registered animals under milk recording, Ayrshire 9% with 6224 registered animals under milk recording and other breeds combined represent 1% of the market. An interesting fact in these figures are that Holstein numbers are only slightly less than Jersey numbers when looking at first and second lactation cows but when it comes to cows three lactations and older the Jersey is ahead by 5 232 animals emphasizing the ability of the Jersey cow to stay productive for a longer time than any other dairy breed.
Jersey SA is also doing its part in supplying other African countries with quality animals to improve their dairy industries. The latest project being a Land-o-Lakes initiative where 400 registered Jersey heifers will be going out to Mozambique, the first shipment was due for March but due to heavy flooding in Mozambique it was delayed and the first group of 60 animals are ready to leave for our neighboring country on 25 May 2009. Botswana is also a regular recipient of registered Jersey animals, along with Rwanda, Ghana, Swaziland and Lesotho.
Jersey cows were exhibited at 10 shows during 2008 and 10 422 classifications were done during the course of the year. A very special event was when “Vannelus Pitino Sheryl” won the Interbreed championship in Bloemfontein in early May 2008,what makes this even more special was the fact that she was also the number one cow for her production class over the whole South African population. Proof that South Africans show their milk cows! A new highest National Sale average was achieved in 2008 at R13 375 and a new national record for a bull was achieved at the 2009 National Sale held on 8 April 2009 when the previous record of R24 500 was smashed to set a new high of R34 000.The bull sale average also reaching its highest mark in history at R 19 200 at the 2009 National sale. 2008 also saw a new record price for a pregnant heifer when Cocky Action’s Dorrine was sold for R 68 000 at the 11th National Golden Heifer Sale.
Currently the local dairy industry is under enormous pressure with many producers getting out of the dairy industry unable to handle the pressure, some cows are transferred to other operations that expand but a large number is culled which could lead to shortages in the near future. Farmers are under a lot of pressure due to low producer prices and high input costs which was aggravated by a persisting drought in the coastal dairy producing areas. In spite of all this Jersey SA is still making progress and new members are signed up monthly. Breeders stay enthusiastic about the breed even through tough industry times and there is continued interest from producers farming with other breeds to add Jerseys to their operations.
All this keeps Jersey SA inspired to promote and improve our wonderful cows and reach even higher in future!
PO Box 100893, Brandhof 9324, Republic of South Africa