29 May 2012
Jersey and Holstein Sustainability
Sustainable Advantages of Jersey Cows
The dairy industry uses many different breeds of cows for the production of milk. The most iconic and identifiable breed of dairy cow is the Holstein-Friesian. This breed originated in what is today known as the Netherlands. Holsteins are by far the most common and recognizable breed. They are large animals. A Holstein calf weights up to ninety pounds at birth, and can grow up to 1,500 pounds by the time it is five years old; to give the animals enough nutrients to grow this large requires many resources. A second breed that is said to have a lower carbon footprint is the Jersey cow. This is the breed used in the dairies that Rumiano Cheese is made from.
In August of 2010, an article on dairy sustainability was published by the American Jersey Cattle Association which explains the production and sustainability advantages of Jersey cows versus the more common Holstein breed. The Jersey breed was developed on the British Channel Island of Jersey. These gentle cows are a smaller breed of cow, reaching an average of 1,100 pounds, about 400 pounds less than Holsteins. Their color is a light brown or fawn, compared to the typical Holstein black and white. Other than size and color, the major difference between these two breeds can be seen in the milk. The Jersey milk has 20 to 25 percent higher butterfat and protein per gallon of milk. Most cheese-makers prefer Jersey milk because it makes a richer, creamier cheese.
All cows require water, feed and acreage, but Jersey cows consume the least. The lower resource requirement for Jersey cows stems from their size which translates to less land, water, and feed needed to have successful milk production. To find out more about the advantages of Jersey cows from a dairy sustainability perspective, you can read the full literary article at the Journal of Dairy Science, or a much simpler -- less scientific jargon -- version here via US Jersey online.