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WORLD JERSEY CATTLE BUREAU

FOR THE 2008 COUNCIL MEETING IN JERSEY

VICE PRESIDENT’S REPORT FOR ASIA-OCEANA

  by Richard Gibson (New Zealand)

The Past year has seen a lot of activity in Australasia, not only from a Jersey point of view but from a Dairy farmers point of view. As most are aware there has been a huge lift in world Dairy prices over the last 18 months which has changed the dynamics of Dairy farming in Australia and New Zealand.  The three drivers of this have been feed to bio fuels, the Australian drought and the demand from oil rich and new growth economies. Ironically in New Zealand, we also have seen the major Dairy areas receive their driest period for many decades, which as a result seen a 3% drop in production in New Zealand, from a predicted 3% increase.

Prices for Dairy cattle in both countries have doubled. In New Zealand this is a result of more farms being converted to dairying and in Australia as they rebuild after their years of droughts.

Jersey New Zealand has seen the departure of long serving CEO John Allan, who gave invaluable service to the organisation with his accounting skills and knowledge of the Animal Evaluation Systems, so will be a loss to Jerseys.

Also much discussion again on A1 and A2 milk has been generated by a book put out by Professor Keith Woodfood of Lincoln University. If A1 milk is proved to be what is claimed, the Jersey breed has the highest percentage of A2 cows.

The New Zealand Royal Show saw Tahora Freedom Vanessa Excellent gain Jersey and All Breeds Senior Champion. A cow of world class it was a great win for Jerseys.  I went to the Australian Dairy Week in January and again there was an outstanding line of Jerseys on display. The judge was Alta Mae Core from USA.

The JETA Award saw three outstanding applicants applying with any of the three being a potential winner.  The final decision was made by Johannes Van Eden and Stephen Le Feuvre of the World Bureau.  So we congratulate Carolyn, or Lyna, Beehre of Oakura Jerseys, New Zealand, being the winner.

In New Zealand another major change is the two AB companies Livestock Improvement Corporation and Ambreed NZ Ltd will be offering Genomic tested bulls in their proven bull teams. This will speed up genetic gain, and will comprise bulls of two to four years of age. The younger bulls will, in their first year, be proven in traditional sire proving herds.  In recent decades the world wide availability of genetics has seen exchange between the main countries but probably now these countries will use more bulls proven in their own domestic situation as other traits beside production become important, such as fertility, mastitis, and temperament.

So the World Jersey Bureau meeting in Jersey is a great chance to celebrate the "Jersey Cow" in her home of origin, and a great chance to mix with breeders from far and wide where the Jersey Cow has made her home.  So we all look forward to a great Bureau Meeting and I wish the Bureau well in the future and the new Vice President for Oceania.

Respectfully submitted,

Richard Gibson

Vice President for Oceania - May 2008

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