The Jersey cow is a small, light brown cow from the Channel Island of Jersey. This dairy cattle was kept isolated for centuries on the island between England and France. With the colonization in the 19th century it has been spread around the world, mostly by the British. It proved a good dairy cow under extreme conditions.
In the 20th century the production of this breed further improved in countries such as Canada, the United States, New Zealand and Denmark. These are also the countries where the Jersey is present in large numbers.
From 2000, the Jersey globally receives in a growing interest. In parts of Latin America and Africa the Jersey keeps well even under tropical conditions. The Jersey is highly resistant to heat and has no need for concentrated food.
The main advantage of a Jersey compared to other dairy breeds is that there is less food needed for the same amount of fat and protein in milk. Other benefits include strong legs, hard pigmented claws, ease of calving and low disease rates in general. As a result their durability is better. These advantages make up for the disadvantages such as lower number of calves and a lower residue.
In the future, the Jersey breed remains an attractive breed for milking. This is despite a shift in milk return from fat to protein (the Jersey has a high fat and protein ratio). Things like low feed costs, the Jersey can do with little to no concentrate, and suitability for production on fresh grass, makes that the Jersey has a low carbon footprint and therefore serves well in sustainable dairy farming.
An adult bull weighs between 540 and 820 kg, and a cow between 400 and 500 kg. The animals are known for their high fertility and protein content. There is an average of 4.84% fat and 3.95% protein in the milk.