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Jersey vs Guernsey

Posts: 22
Location: The great state of Georgia
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For those of you who have experience with both animals, do you really find the Guernsey more durable than the Jersey?

I have had both breeds in the past, but not in any type of numbers that would allow me to make an educated decision about each breed as a whole.

I am thinking of adding four dairy cows to my small beef cattle herd. I'm looking for animals that will breed naturally, graze as their primary source of food (hay when grass gets scarce or weather necessitates), and be amenable to handling.

I live in Georgia, south of Atlanta, and if we get two inches of snow a year its a big snow year LOL. These cows will never have to deal with blustery winters. They have water available at all times.

I was just wanting to get opinions on which animal would be better suited for my needs in this situation if you have experience with both breeds.

Thank you.
Posts: 946
Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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It depends entirely on the genetic quality of the individual animals that you find. IMO, there is a huge amount of variation between individuals within the breeds, and one really cannot generalize accurately.

When you find individuals you are considering, get their production records, reproductive history, and some good pics. If you post that up, I would be happy to give you my honest opinion on the specific cows you are debating.

Good luck!
Posts: 69
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If you have beef cattle, why do you think about these two breeds at all?
I would use a dual purpose breed in this case. A good Simmental cow easily produces 5000 liters of milk from good pasture, with no concentrate. And she gives you a calf worth fattening, both pure breed or crossed with your beef bull.
Tom Scialla
Posts: 22
Location: The great state of Georgia
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I'm not comparing specific animals to specific animals. Obviously the best specimen of one breed will be better than the trashiest garbage of another breed. That goes without saying. Obviously, I was talking about quality cows of each breed. I would rather put a bullet in a sub standard animal than put a flake of hay in front of it. I won't have garbage animals on my farm. It won't happen.

Also, I'm not a fan of Simmental. I don't need any 1500+ pound cows, plus I just don't like them. I am at a dead lock between Jerseys and Guernseys. I have had both and was hoping to get a real world opinion from someone else who has had both breeds of cattle.

Thank you for the opinions.

I am really hoping to get some insight from someone who has a lot of experience with each breed.

I plan on breeding the cows to my beef bull and just using the calves for veal. It doesn't really matter if they're "worth fattening" because they will never see their first birthday. Heck, they may never see a blade of grass after their first day of life.
Posts: 30
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Tom, I am getting the feeling that you might be the only one here who has experience with both breeds. That may make you the best person to answer your own question even though, as you say, you haven't seen enough for comforts sake. I have Jerseys. I have never seen a Guernsey. However, both breeds produce the A2 protein type and therefore, they are both good IMO. Personally I would buy either breed if the cow standing in front of me had the hallmarks of quality.

I breed my Jerseys to either a Belted Galloway or Angus bull and I get calves that can do any freezer proud. The heifers are still decent milkers for the average family and the steers grow up just as tasty and quick as a full beef cow. How could they not with Jersey milk. Other than a faint Jersey ring around the nose, you cannot tell the difference. Its all in the bull used to produce the calf. For me, a good milk cow is all about conformation and the A2 protein type.

I should add, that Jerseys can be quite durable. I think that you will have to go through a culling process though, to get what you want. I find some of the best Jerseys are the ones retired from a milking barn at around 5-6 years of age. For them to have made it that long under those requirements means they have longevity. I have 2 Jersey cows that were 5 and 6 respectively when I bought them 5 years ago. They are still producing a good calf every year and a decent amount of milk. They are also keeping their condition well on grass and hay. I have another cow bought at the age of 3 who is an anorexic nightmare. Cannot keep condition on her for love nor money. Once she calves the weight just drops off her. Produces plenty of milk but her calves are hard keepers as well. Much as I like her other traits, her line will have to go.
Posts: 91
Location: PNW
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Is there any real backing to the A1 vs A2 milk difference beyond "The Devil in the Milk" by Keith Woodford? I find this quite interesting but there is limited evidence proving the theory.
Raye Beasley
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A2 milk soars overseas but not in NZ
Why switching to A2 milk could be good for you
Last updated 08:02 30/07/2012

Keith Woodford KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ
CHOICE FIND: Lincoln University agribusiness professor Keith Woodford buys his A2 milk from the Fresh Choice supermarket in Barrington Mall, one of the limited number of stockists in Christchurch.

Five years ago, the debate over the claimed health benefits of A2 milk was raging. Since then, the alternative milk has taken off in Australia and is about to be launched in Britain. What is happening here?

The curious case of A2 milk remains unsolved, despite the hubbub and revelations of 2007.

Five years ago, all hell broke loose in the dairying sector as an explosive book by Lincoln University agribusiness professor Keith Woodford laid bare the efforts by major players to discredit the supposed health benefits of A2 milk and untangled a web of intrigue that involved Fonterra and the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA).

Since then there has been new science backing those health claims and new markets for the milk. But here, where the A2 marketing story began and as the home of the A2 Corporation that promotes the milk internationally, the debate has fallen quiet.

While Australian sales are healthy and rising, and the milk is about to be launched into the massive British market, back in the South Island A2 customers still have to deal with a limited and spasmodic supply.

Woodford said he was more strongly convinced that A2 milk was the healthier choice, not containing A1 beta casein that produced the betacasomorphin-7 (BCM7) protein fragment linked to diabetes, heart disease, autism and, more recently, cot death (sudden infant death syndrome).

However, he believed the January 2009 report of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) had been "a blow for the A2 cause".

"Lost under the headlines was the acknowledgement by EFSA that A2 milk was indeed different and that BCM7 was released from 'ordinary milk' containing A1 beta casein but not from A2 milk, where all the beta casein is of the A2 type," he said.

"What EFSA claimed was there was no evidence that BCM7 was then able to get through to the blood and thereby have an effect."

New research had provided that evidence, Woodford said.

One of the EFSA review authors, Ivano De Noni, had since published two papers showing BCM7 was released into the intestines from not only "normal" milk but all dairy products containing A1 beta casein, such as cheese, yoghurt and infant formula.

There were also papers from Russian and Polish researchers demonstrating that babies on infant formula had BCM7 in their blood, which proved EFSA wrong, Woodford said.

Babies with depressed breathing in their sleep, which could be a cause of cot death, had been shown by Dr Elzbieta Kostyrato in the Neuropeptides journal to have high levels of BCM7.

Woodford said the new research was significant.

"Major elements of the mainstream dairy industry, at least in Australia and New Zealand, have known about BCM7 and the apparent links to a range of health conditions for more than a decade," he said. "They hoped that those apparent links might disappear, and for a while it seemed that this might happen. Now there is no chance that this will happen."

Fonterra's approach to A2 milk has not changed or softened over the last five years.

Group director technology and chief technical officer Jeremy Hill said Fonterra had reviewed the "A1 versus A2 issue" and "found no cause for concern".

The dairy giant clings to the EFSA findings from 2009, with Hill saying its position was "confirmed" by the eight independent expert reviewers who "concluded the weight of scientific evidence did not support claims that A2 milk is a healthier alternative".

While Woodford quotes the new research, Hill said there was "nothing new in the A1 versus A2 milk health debate, but we will continue to review the scientific evidence, as and when needed".

There had been no discussions with the A2 Corporation about milk, Hill said.

Auckland University professor of population nutrition and global health Boyd Swinburn, who wrote a report on A2 milk that the NZFSA misrepresented (see facts box), said the evidence for A2 "seems to be getting stronger".

"There's nothing that has knocked it out, but it's quite disappointing the low amount of research. It hasn't taken off as much as I thought it would," he said.

"There are a lot of commercial issues tied up in it. Fonterra's view doesn't surprise me. For them to take any public position which is pro-A2 automatically means their standard milk dominated by A1 is not as good, so that is pretty untenable for a big company to take."

The A2 Corporation has been careful in recent years not to overplay the health claims or research on the apparent benefits of A2 milk.

Managing director Geoff Babidge said the company was happy to "let the scientists do the science" and build up a body of evidence.

"For the last five years we have been saying, 'All dairy is good; A2 may be more suitable for certain people'. Our business is premised on that."

Sales of A2 milk in Australia were strong, with A2's current market share estimated at 4.7 per cent of all Australian milk sales.

Sales in the last six months of 2011 were 48.7 per cent higher than the previous comparable half year, while in the quarter to the end of March this year they totalled A$12.36 million (NZ$16m).

New Zealand sales were only about 3 per cent of that, he said.

Australian demand was even more pleasing given the supermarket price of two litres of standard-brand milk had fallen to A$2 compared with A$4.95 for A2 milk, he said.

"The reason the business in New Zealand is pretty modest is that some time ago, prior to the recent shareholders and board of management, the company issued a whole raft of licences to small operators. That model proved not to be particularly efficient," he said.

A2 milk will be launched in Britain in September in a joint venture with Robert Wiseman Dairies, Britain's largest fresh-milk company, which delivers more than 30 per cent of Britain's milk and has annual sales of about [PndStlg]1 billion (NZ$1.9b). The company is now part of German- owned dairy group Muller.

Babidge said the size of the British thirst for A2 milk could be at least three times that of Australia's.

"We are very optimistic about the opportunities for the company in the UK," he said. "That is not to say that everything in Australia will be replicated in the UK."

In New Zealand, North Auckland dairy company Fresha Valley has the licence to produce homogenised A2 milk in one and two-litre containers.

"We'd like to do more in New Zealand. We are a New Zealand-headquartered company, but realistically also we are making substantial progress and having special success in Australia and now in the UK. We're also looking at additional international markets, Europe or North America, to put something similar in place that we have in the UK."

What does the company have planned for New Zealand?

Babidge points to the agreement it has signed with Synlait Milk for the manufacture of A2 milk powders and infant formulas. The deal involves Synlait collecting A2 milk from accredited Canterbury dairy farms and manufacturing the powders at its Rakaia plant, a "key step" in launching A2 infant formula products into Asia, particularly China.

He estimated the infant formula market in China was worth US$6b a year.

Woodford, whose book is in its second edition, said he made a point of drinking A2 milk where possible.

"There is more research that will be forthcoming over the next 12 months," he said.

"Since becoming aware of where that research is heading, I take even more care to minimise my own intake of non-A2 milk."

- The Press

Well its the same guy but with an update. This is one of those debates that big ag has a vested interest in and one really needs to sift through all the propaganda and just make a decision for your personal situation and whethor not you want to buy into it. My experience with a lot of chinese relatives is that they can't tolerate holstein milk but are amazed that they can drink Jersey milk without getting stomach issues. I am talking unpastuerized milk in both cases. My hubby can drink Jersey milk by the gallons but cannot drink holstein milk without getting bloody diarrhea. This is either unpastuerized farm milk or pasteurized store milk. Same goes for the bi-products. So, no holsteins on our farm. Another personal reason I wouldn't go holstein is that they are breeding them ginormous these days. The teats are also too tiny; made for milking machines. Fine if you want to use a machine, but not so fine for milking by hand.
Posts: 95
Location: KY
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Tom Scialla wrote:

I was just wanting to get opinions on which animal would be better suited for my needs in this situation if you have experience with both breeds.

Thank you.


I just got rid of my 3 jerseys (2 cows and a calf) last year. My heart is still sad.

I agree with Adam Klaus - genetics is really a big deal. My 2 cows were light years apart.

I would also suggest that you buy from a place that has your type of philosophy as far as feeding, minerals, housing, etc. This is more likely to have the genetics you want.

I really believe you have to build your own genetics. Start with something in the ballpark and then work your way towards what you want.
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