High Yielding Dairy Cows

The dairy business is one of the most profitable agribusinesses in the world. Milk is an essential commodity that enhances healthy living. Several products can be made from dairy production, talk of milk, cheese, butter, and others. Dairy milk is rich in essential nutrients elements and vitamins that are crucial to living fine and healthy. The production of milk is through the strategic rearing of dairy cows.

Like other businesses, the raw material of milk production is the dairy cow; these cows are naturally endowed to produce fresh and raw milk at a specific period. Targeting this period is a strategic attempt or exercise by the dairy farmer. The production of milk varies with several factors; however, the genetic makeup of the cow plays a crucial role in the length and amount of milk produced over a specific period.

There are several breeds of the dairy cow, however, three breeds of dairy cows have been found to be more productive and prolific, in terms of milk quality, health and welfare of cow, and length of milking period.  

The High Yielding Dairy Cows

The three breeds of dairy cows most used for milk are Guernseys, Holsteins, and Jerseys. They are also the most popular in commercial dairies. Other popular dairy cow breeds are Brown Swiss, Ayrshire, and Red & White, a breed genetically related to the Holstein and similar to it.

#1. GUERNSEYS

Guernsey cows are very productive with the good production of milk. Their milk is naturally higher in many nutrients and it has a different casein protein (A2) which means more people can enjoy dairy. The majority of Guernsey cows produce milk containing the A2 beta-casein protein (the lesser-known A protein).

There is growing anecdotal evidence that individuals with illnesses that generally cannot tolerate milk or are exasperated by milk, can both tolerate and benefit from drinking Guernsey milk with the A2 protein.  It’s popularly said that A2 milk is better for allergies such as the gut, skin rashes, hay-fever, and cough, and some even suggest that some children with behavioral conditions may benefit from A2 milk.  

Calcium is the key supportive element in bones and teeth, giving bones their strength and rigidity. It is also important for your organs and bodily functions. For instance, you need adequate amounts of calcium for your heart and metabolism to operate at their best. Calcium helps to contract muscles, form blood clots and transmit nerve impulses. The body needs vitamin D to efficiently absorb calcium, both of which are naturally found in Guernsey milk.

Properties of Guernsey Cow Milk

Guernsey milk has several unique properties, which include:

#1. Presence of Omega 3 Oil

Guernsey milk is naturally better balanced than other kinds of milk, with test results showing it to have one part omega 3 to two parts omega 6, while all other kinds of milk are one part omega 3 to six parts omega 6. There are several fortified kinds of milk to which fish oil has been added to improve the balance between omega 3 and omega 6.

#2. Presence of Beta Carotene

As it is not digested and broken down by Guernsey cows, it creates a wonderful golden color in the milk and its products. Beta Carotene is found in green vegetable matter i.e. grass and is thought to give protection against certain cancers. One often sees recommendations that the consumption of carrots and green vegetables are good for you. Therefore golden Guernsey milk should provide the same benefit.

#3. Presence of High percentage of Beta Casein A2

Guernsey milk has a naturally high percentage of Beta Casein A2. Other kinds of milk have been shown to be between 40% (Jersey milk) and 15% (Holstein milk).

Also, 98% of the milk sold in the UK is from Holstein cows and Guernsey milk is currently only available direct from some Guernsey herd owners. Unlike Beta Casein A2, the Beta Casein A1 gives rise to digestion to a product called Beta Casomorphin 7 – this as the name suggests is an opioid and it is the opioid that aggravates Autism and is possibly implicated in type 1 diabetes and coronary heart disease.

Although the fat and protein content of Guernsey milk is higher than ‘ordinary’ milk, it has a better balance then Jersey milk – typically 4.8% fat and 3.5% protein – and therefore, it is 95% fat free and has a fabulous taste.

#2. HOLSTEIN FRIESIANS

Holstein Friesians are a breed of dairy cattle originating from the Dutch provinces of North Holland and Friesland, and Schleswig-Holstein in Northern Germany. They are known as the world’s highest-production dairy animals. Holstein dairy cattle dominate this country’s milk production industry. The reason for their popularity is clear: greater income over feed costs, unexcelled production, unequaled genetic merit, and adaptability to a wide range of environmental conditions.

The Holstein-Friesian is the most widespread cattle breed in the world; it is present in more than 150 countries. With the growth of the New World, markets began to develop for milk in North America and South America, and dairy breeders turned to the Netherlands for their livestock. Holstein cows give more milk than any other dairy breed in the U.S. The average Holstein cow produces around 23,000 pounds of milk, or 2,674 gallons, of milk each lactation. With a standard lactation lasting 305 days, that comes out to 75 pounds, or almost 9 gallons of milk per cow per day.

These cows either have distinct white and black markings or distinct red and white markings. Holstein cows are the biggest of all U.S. dairy breeds. A full mature Holstein cow usually weighs around 700 kilograms (1,500 lb) and is 147 centimeters (58 in) tall at the shoulder. They are known for their outstanding milk production among the main breeds of dairy cattle. An average Holstein cow produces around 10,000 kilograms (23,000 lb) of milk each lactation.

It was proven beyond doubt that the cow that produces the most milk per year is the Holstein cow. The cow is really famous because it is the most used in the world for dairy production. She can produce almost 10 000kg of milk per year. The quantity of milk per day depends on the day in the lactation.  

#3. JERSEY

The Jerseys naturally produce the highest quality milk for human consumption. Compared to average milk, a glass of Jersey milk has greater nutritional value: 15% to 20% more protein, 15% to 18% more calcium, and 10% to 12% more phosphorous, and also considerably higher levels of an essential vitamin, B12. Jersey produces 9% more milk solids than other breeds; it produces 13% more fat than other breeds per kg liveweight; and also converts 18% more feed per kG liveweight.

Jersey is the most sustainable of the common dairy breeds. Jerseys produce more profit – approximately 8% – than Holstein Friesians when stocked to optimal stocking rates. Jerseys are kinder on the environment at the cow, whole farm and industry level. They are known to have the richest milk of all dairy breeds with averages of 6 % butterfat and 4% Protein and Yields of up to 8500 kgs.

Jerseys produce about 20 kilos of milk per day. They have an average butterfat content of about 5%. The average cow in the United States produces 53 pounds of milk per day which is equivalent to about 6.2 gallons. The average Jersey cow matures at approximately 410 kilograms (900 lb), with a typical weight range between 360 and 540 kilograms.

According to North Dakota State University, the fat content of the Jersey cow’s milk is 4.9 percent. It is also the highest in protein, at 3.8 percent. This high fat content means the milk is often used for making ice cream and cheeses. Other benefits of jerseys cow are:

  • Jersey cows are Lighter cow 450 kgs Vs 600 kgs for Friesian cattle.
  • They are aggressive grazers
  • Cows can be turned out earlier with less poaching occurring.
  • Equally suitable to high input high output systems or low cost grass-based systems.
  • Reach maturity earlier therefore produce milk earlier than other breeds will.
  • Mix in well with Holsteins and won’t be bullied as they are aggressive feeders.
  • Can be stocked higher therefore higher milk solids/ha – Ease of calving.
  • Lower replacement rate therefore more stock to sell.
  • Hard feet and less susceptible to lameness.

Benefits of Crossbreeding Jersey cow

  • Improved fertility
  • Quick return to the reproduction cycle
  • Lower maintenance
  • Shorter calving index
  • Contributes to an easy-care herd
  • Higher milk solids
  • Less supervision required at calving time
  • Greater feed efficiency

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