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WORLD JERSEY CATTLE BUREAU

FOR THE 2008 COUNCIL MEETING IN JERSEY

VICE PRESIDENT’S REPORT FOR EUROPE

by Derrick Frigot (Jersey Island)

 The past year has been another one of increased activity for the Jersey breed in Europe with good constructive sounds coming from all parts.  The breed is proving to be more and more popular with dairymen recognising its health advantages and the quality of its product.  

In 2008, Danish Jersey has become part of Viking Genetics, a new Danish-Swedish AI Society. The popularity of Jerseys is increasing in Denmark with 62,000 milk recorded cows (12% of dairy breeds) due to the fact that you can milk more Jerseys, and make more profit per hectare than with other breeds. Also, you don’t get the same health problems with Jerseys. Danish Jersey herds milk, on average 123 cows, with 6550 kg milk, 386 (5.89%) kg fat and 266 (4.06%) kg protein. 

The export of live animals to the European market is between 2,000 and 3,000 Jerseys a year. Semen exports are now close to 200,000 doses a year, to 35 different countries. Recently, Viking Genetics announced that they have processed 100,000 straws of sexed semen since starting in 2007– a vital part of breed development both in Denmark and other European countries. 

France is hosting part of the 2008 WJCB tours where, in the last 15 years, the number of Jersey cows on official milk recording has increased three-fold. From 965 cows in 1992, to 2,757 cows in 2007, the development of the breed in France is very positive. More and more breeders, especially Holstein breeders, have introduced Jersey cattle into their herds. Nowadays, more than 350 commercial herds have at least one Jersey cow. The number of herd members of Jersiaise France increased from 15 in the early 90’s, up to 60 members in 2008. 

The 2007 national average for production of the Jersey breed was 5668 kg (ME) at 5.55% fat and 4.02 % protein. Corrected for protein and fat percentage to 4% milk, this equals 7741 kg of milk produced per lactation. Corrected for feed intake, to compare with the Holstein breed, this is 11,870 kg of 4% milk, as a national average! 

In France, 70% Danish sires are used, 20% US sires; and the rest from Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Since 2007, a young sire from Viking Genetics is co-tested each year. 

In the United Kingdom, the JCS of the UK processed 9,806 pedigree registrations in 2007, a ten per cent increase in the year and a great incentive to breach the 10,000 barrier this year.  

Official government statistics also highlight the growth in Jersey numbers. In Great Britain, Jersey sired cattle totalled over 85,000 head in 2006 (the most recent data). This was 35 per cent more than Ayrshire numbers, a breed which was on a par with Jerseys as recently as 2004.  In the Province of Northern Ireland, Jersey numbers have increased three-and-a half fold this century! 

A great opportunity remains to be exploited in the cheese sector. Artisan producers and farmhouse cheese makers, alike, benefit from enhanced quality and consumer acclaim when up to one-third of the milk is sourced from Jersey cows. Farmhouse cheese production in England comes from a longstanding family tradition; in the West Country with Cheddar and the Midlands with Cheshire and Gloucester varieties.  Several now process 100 to 150 million litres each year, so their milk requirement can be significant for the Jersey breed.  

There is a growing band of Holstein herds with ten per cent, or more of the herd made over to Jerseys. Some do it to improve average milk quality, for others it is a trial before making the full switch, and many find the family enjoys showing Jerseys alongside their black and whites.  

The Jersey Cattle Society is progressing steadily with targets for the breed. Success will be seen by a quadrupling cow numbers between 2005 and 2020. By that time there will be well over 100,000 pure Jersey milking cows and one-quarter of a million Jersey sired cattle, giving a ten per cent stake in the national herd – rising from its current 2.6 per cent! 

As hosts for the 18th International conference of the WJCB, Jersey has been very busy in organising this event during the past year in particular.  The outcome of the tours of England, Jersey and France, and the conference itself will be judged by those who attend.  Here in Europe, we hope you all enjoy our hospitality and go back home having learned a lot more about the Jersey cow in its original home and neighbouring countries.  

Respectfully submitted, 

Derrick Frigot

Vice President for Europe - May 2008

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