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World Jersey Cattle Bureau 

2009 Report of the Vice President for Europe

 

 

2008 was undoubtedly a very busy year for the WJCB and in particular the European member countries. The highly successful 18th International Conference of the Bureau took place in Jersey and a pre-conference tour of England and a post-conference tour of France gave delegates a good insight to the Jersey dairy scene in these countries whilst enjoying superb hospitality from the hosts.  Thanks go to the three associations that hosted the events – the Jersey Cattle Society of the United Kingdom, UPRA Jersiaise and the Royal Jersey Agricultural & Horticultural Society.

The conference in the Island of Jersey was deemed to be one of the most successful ever staged and 265 delegates from 21 countries enjoyed a week of activity surrounding the stimulating conference papers.

  • The inaugural World Jersey Cheese Festival which was held during conference week was an unqualified success. The concept of a cheese festival dedicated to promoting the Jersey breed was conceived between James Godfrey, Cherie Bayer and Russell Gammon at the annual meetings of the Bureau in Brazil in June 2007. This first festival attracted 101 cheeses from ten countries – the overall winner being a cheese from the Netherlands produced by the Van der Voort family with their famous Remeker brand of Jersey cheese.

Denmark

During the past twelve months, there has been a 6% increase in Jersey inseminations and the number of milk recorded cows has risen by 2,100 cows to 64,500, representing 12.2% of all dairy cows in Denmark.  The average size herd is 135 cows.  The national average for Jerseys is 6,560 kgs milk 5.85% fat 4.02% protein with a combined average of fat and protein of 648 kgs.

Genomic Selection was introduced and implemented in May 2009.  20% of all semen from proven sires is sexed. The national AI organisation, VikingGenetics announced a further merger as from January 1, 2010.  Denmark and Sweden have been working together since 2008, and the new merger will include FABA, the Finnish AI Centre. This will make Viking Genetics one of the largest AI centres in the world with more than 3,000 sires exporting semen to over 50 countries.

Finland

There are only approximately 50 purebred Jerseys in Finland and as from next year they will be included as part of the VikingGenetics and the Jersey programme there.

France

There are now more than 5,000 Jerseys in France and this number is climbing. Sexed semen is very popular in France to produce more Jersey heifers in a very buoyant marketplace. Their first National Jersey Show will take place in Chemillé on September 5-6, 2009.

Germany

There are 4-5,000 Jerseys in Germany and this is increasing, particularly in the eastern part of the country (formerly East Germany).  WWS Germany is running the Jersey office and improved information and service is being provided to the breeders.   The German Jersey Association has elected Gebhard Rehberg as their new President.

Greece

Two Jersey herds were established in Greece during the past year.  A dairy company has specialized in producing Jersey cheeses, which should encourage the establishment of more Jersey herds in the future. The 2010 WJCB meetings plans will include a visit to these herds and the dairy plant.

Jersey

For those who attended the conference last May, it was evident that the subject which was challenging all minds of the people of Jersey was the pending debate in the States of Jersey, the Island’s government, on the issue of Importation of semen into the Island – for the first time in its history.  With enthusiastic opinion being expressed on all sides, the government finally decided to “open the doors” and allow the importation of semen into Jersey.   The first consignment arrived in September 2009 and farmers were quick to use these “new genetics”.  In the intervening months, about 80% of all inseminations have been to international semen and as many as 40 different sires will be used in the first year.  The sires selected by breeders have been mainly sourced from the USA, Canada and Denmark.  Early indications show approximately 5% increase in conception rates from the international semen.

Netherlands

The 2008 national production for Jerseys was 451 cows 5,637 kgs milk 5.93% fat 4.06% protein – 50% of the Jersey herds are organically farmed.  The Jersey breeders are mostly young enthusiastic people who see the breeding of Jerseys as a challenge in the home of the black and white cow.  They organise their farming practices differently than the average farmers with more care for the animals and environment.  Some sell their own milk products directly to the consumer and each month one of them is featured in the country’s newspapers.  Holland used 2,500 does of Jersey semen last year, mostly Danish with the balance from the USA and Canada.  Sexed semen is becoming very popular. 

Norway

There is a slight increase in the number of Jerseys in Norway – the population is now between 4-5,000 Jerseys.  A group of 30 Danish Jersey breeders visited Norway last April, visiting 5 herds in Jären, south of Stavenger.

Sweden

Sweden has approximately 5,000 Jerseys and the Swedish Jersey Association is celebrating their 60th anniversary in July 2009.  They have the oldest Jersey herd in Nordic countries – Wirums Säteri which was established in 1891.  With their working relationship with Denmark (through VikingGenetics) their national herd is being used in testing bulls and the selection of bulls and bull dams.

Switzerland

There are now 8,000 registered Jerseys in Switzerland and the population is still increasing.  The importation of live animals has stopped at this time, but there is a lot of interest is using sexed semen.  Their second National Jersey Show with 165 animals was held in Zug last April with Peter Larson officiating as judge. (their first National Jersey Show was held during the WJCB Council visit in 2006.)

United Kingdom

Jersey registrations for UK born animals increased by 14% during 2008.  The JCS of the UK also reported strong semen sales, an increase of more than 10,000 straws which was a 37% uplift over the previous year, and 250% in five year’s from the society’s portfolio.

Other indicators of the growing popularity of the Jersey was evident and a total of 11,875 pure Jerseys births were recorded by the BCMS which was a 5.5% increase and  6,594 Jersey sired crosses, a 4.7% increase in a year.

Although both Holsteins and British Friesians increased total numbers last year, both have shown marked declines as a percentage of all dairy females.  The gap is being filled, primarily by cross-breeding, predominantly Scandinavian Red breeds. Total dairy inseminations have declined since the autumn of 2008 as a result of increase beef calf values and falling milk price.

However, the prospects for the Jersey breed is good as declining milk prices encourages commercial dairy farms to seek increased value per litre.  Also, those who cross-breed need to return to pure-breeds as foundation stock. The use of Jerseys in such situations will add value to stock sales and not dent breed expansion.

Milk recorded lactations were up by 13% with an average increase in milk to 5,673 litres with 5.4% fat and 3.9% protein.  The Jersey produces the third highest weight of combined fat and protein, behind Holstein and Brown Swiss.  Yielding 84% of the weight of solids, yet from 70% of body weight makes Jerseys an attractive choice.  In addition, Jerseys have a 24 day Calving Index advantage over both those breeds.

Nearly 400 herds registered animals in the Herd Book in 2008, with 61 breeders registering over 60% of the animals, and 168 breeders registered over 90%

Albania

Albania has an estimated national herd of 16,000 purebred Jerseys.  In addition, there are more than 100,000 Jersey crosses making Jersey one of the dominant dairy breeds in the country. The herds are very small in most cases (average of two cows) and farming is on a very small scale. The Albanian Jersey Association - “Unioni I Fermereve te Xhersejt – ALDA – Jersej” – was officially recognised in the Court of Tirana in March 2007, and is actively supporting programmes of breed improvement.  This is a country that is very keen to promote and improve the Jersey breed and next year’s WJCB meetings will undoubtedly learn a lot more about their efforts.  Come and see for yourself in 2010!

I visited Albania for two days recently to assist in the organisation of the 2010 WJCB Meetings and tour.  Spending those two days with Mr Myslim Mino, President; Dr Andrea Trajani and Dr Gori Stefi, directors of ALDA Jersey, was very special.  The enthusiasm for the Jersey was so evident by the Jersey breeders we visited, and also the official bodies including the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Consumer Protection and Heifer International.  I can confidently promote the 2010 tour to all WJCB members which will offer an insight into this interesting country and the strong interest shown in the Jersey breed.

I thank all contributors to this report and it is very pleasing to say that the Jersey breed is gaining in popularity around the countries of Europe.

Respectfully submitted,

Derrick I Frigot

Vice President for Europe

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