Dairy cattle come in all shapes, colors and sizes, but that isn’t the only thing that makes them unique. In fact, each breed of cow has their own characteristics specific to that breed. While there are many different breeds of cattle, only a few of those breeds are used for milk production. We have three different breeds of dairy cows on our farm: Jersey, Holstein, and Jersey Holstein crossbreeds, each with their own unique contributions to our milk.
Jerseys are typically light brown, but can range in color from grey to almost black. They may have some white patches on their body and will have a black nose. We have Jerseys for several reasons including their ability to produce milk at a low cost when compared to other major dairy breeds and great fertility with few calving issues.
Jersey milk is a major draw for the use of this breed. It has a high nutritional value, bringing a higher price in some markets. Jersey milk contains about 18% more protein, 20% more calcium and 25% more butterfat than your typical milk. It is also known to have more efficiency when processed to make cheese, yogurt or other dairy products.
Not only do they produce high quality, premium milk, but they are also better in the field. Some research suggests that Jerseys are less likely to get mastitis, are less likely to become lame, and have a strong frame. Jerseys are also on the lighter side which might help with their bone and hoof health.
Holsteins are your “typical” dairy cow; most of them are white with black “spots”, although some are red and white. While they are not resistant to intense heat, they do produce rapidly growing calves with early maturity. They are relatively mild-mannered and easy to care for, with very few fertility issues.
These cows are some of the highest producers in the world, which is what helps them make the favorites list for many dairy farmers. These high producing cows produce much of the world’s milk supply while also being resistant to stress and adaptable to different environmental conditions. Not only are they great for producing milk, but they are also known to produce quality meat.
The Jersey-Holstein cross is the best of both worlds. They contain a high milk yield from the holstein breed with the high butterfat content from the Jersey breed. These cows have basically no fertility issues, are heat resistant, good natured, and stable in the field.
We are proud of the cows we have and the milk they produce. It’s our cows that get you the delicious and creamy taste in your favorite locally produced dairy products, and without them, we would be old “moos.” 😉