Jersey Most Profitable and Sustainable Cow Projects

When surveying farmers, profitability is always a key driver in their informed decision making.  At Jersey Australia there has been many conversations around the board room or out in the paddock as to whether the Jersey cow is more profitable than other breeds.  In 2021 Jersey Australia commissioned Dr Steve Little and Scott Barnett to undertake a detailed literature review and economic modelling on this topic,   The project was undertaken with an arms length approach by Jersey Australia and with a strong expectation and demand by Dr Little and Mr Barnett that an evidence based non contrived investigation be undertaken.  Jersey Australia could not agree more that this was and important requirement to undertake the project.

The results show a significant economic and sustainability advantage is available to farmers in milking Jersey cows.

Key Profit Drivers

The key driver of profit for a successful dairy farm business are driven by your cows.  A farm’s cows are the performance and profit making assets of the farm turning available feed into natures wonder drink milk.

Different breeds of dairy cows while each designed to produce milk, they each individually have biological and physiological difference that see then perform differently from breed to breed.  These differences drive how the cow perform on your farm.  The Jersey Most Profitable Cow Project has identified that Jersey cows do this better than other breeds.

Feed Efficiency On any farm, you are the key decision maker in the type, quantity and quality of feed you grow or purchase..  From the type of grass or crop you grow, the what and how much of each fertiliser you apply, how you harvest or graze the fodder and what imported feed your bring into the farm.  You also are the key decision maker in the breed of cow you use to convert that investment in feed and fodder into your farms key revenue maker and profit driver.  Milk.

Imagine by doing something as simple as change your breed of cow to a Jersey that you could use that that feed better and increase your profitability.

The Jersey Most Profitable and Sustainable Cow Project has identified a Jersey cow 14-21% higher feed intake capacity per 100kg of Liveweight and uses that feed more effectively by producing 26-31% more energy corrected milk per 100kg of bodyweight.

Fertility The Australian Jersey Cow has a significant Fertility advantage over other other breeds and while genetic trends show improvements for other breeds, the Jersey cow still retains a significant advantage.  The 6-Week in calf rate which is the phenotypic used by DataGene to support the fertility ABV shows the average Jersey bull   – ABV of 100 has a 6-week in calf rate of around 60% as compared to a Holstein bull with around 43% 6-week in calf rate.  This equates to 40% more cows in calf at 6 weeks for the average fertility bull.  The Jersey advantage increases to around 50% more cows in calf at 6 weeks when the bull ABV reach 110.  Ref: Feeding the Genes Project

A key Jersey advantage is Fertility as identified by the Jersey Most Profitable and Sustainable Cow Project.  Jersey remain in negative energy balance for a shorter period of time relative to a Holstein cow at the commencement of a lactation.   The magnitude of the negative energy balance period for the Jersey cow is also less.  This lead to the Jersey cow being ready to reproduce earlier in her lactation.

More cows in calf when you need them and less reproduction costs equates to more profit to the farmer.

Sustainability There is nothing less profitable than investing in genetics and rearing calves as your dairy ferrd replacements to find that your return on your investment in each animals is impacted by a shortened productive life within your herd.  The Jersey Most Profitable and Sustainable Cow Project shows that Jersey cows have a longer productive life within herd leading to a reduced annual replacement rate.   Longer lasting cows though are only one component of on farm sustainability.  Feed efficiency, heat tolerance, healthy productive cows are just as important.

With a global push in sustainability driven by climate change, consumer and processor demands, the Jersey cow is well placed to deliver on dairy commitment to meeting our industry and social targets and objectives.

Heat Tolerance It is a common sight across the country to see the Australian Jersey Cow grazing pastures on hot days while other breeds seek the comfort of shade.  Heat events have a significant affect on milk production with the development of the Heat Tolerance ABV showing heat events take effect on days as low as 24 degrees and 40% humidity.  The Jersey Most Profitable and Sustainable Cow Project identified the  Jersey cow has many advantages to other breeds in its ability to handle heat events.  These include:

  • Jerseys are more heat tolerant than Holsteins, due to several factors related to their hair coat, skin structure, subcutaneous fat layer, and body surface area to volume ratio
  • Under heat stress, the rumen microbiome of Jersey cows is altered, thereby enhancing heat stress resistance, whereas in Holstein cows it is not
Health Healthy cows are happy cows and Jersey cows are identified in the Jersey Most Profitable and Sustainable Cow Project as being significantly more healthier overall with only milk fever being the only area of animal health where Jersey don’t have less health issues.

Less mastitis, lameness, metritis, calving difficulties and stillbirths are some of key health problems in cows that are identified in the Jersey Most Profitable and Sustainable Cow Project that jersey suffer fewer problems with.  Fewer critical health problems are a significant contributor to the Jersey profit advantage with less treatment and labor cost, reduced antibiotic  use and less milk out of the vat.

Profitability The average modern dairy farm is a multi million dollar investment in land, cows and machinery.  Maximising your profitability through milking Jersey cows can improve your return on investment by between $500,000 – $1million dollars over 20 years subject to your farm management and feeding systems.

Just like breeding your cows is a cumulative effect year when you breed for genetics gain, milking Jersey cows is the same.   Jersey superior return on investments in a HiGrass model of +.6% and HiCons of +1.2% is the same.  Year on year Jersey cows deliver more profitability providing you more surplus cash flow and long term financial security.

Milking Jersey cows drive profitability in your present and investment in your future.

Model your farms potential on milking Jerseys by downloading the Estimated Profitability Worksheet

To access the full reports

Contact Jersey Australia today on + 61 3 9370 9105 or email Jersey to find out more on how to start your journey into Jerseys