The Jersey cow spreads around the world:
The exportation of cattle from the Island commenced in the 18th century and during the 19th and 20th centuries became a very important industry in the Island as a result of the growing world wide demand for Jersey cattle.
There is evidence of ‘Jerseys’ being exported to England during the 17th century and records show Jersey cattle being exported to America by 1850, Australia by 1854, New Zealand by 1862, Canada by 1868, South Africa by 1877, Sweden by 1893 and Denmark by 1896.
In 1882 the cow ‘Khedive’s Primrose’ was sold to America for the incredible sum of £1,000, which in those days would have been sufficient to purchase an average size farm, house and buildings.
The importance of the cattle export industry to the Island can be illustrated when, in the three years from 1830, some 5,756 head of livestock were exported.
Over a hundred years later, in 1948, as trade resumed following the end of World War II, some 2,041 animals were exported from the Island which, at that time, had a population of 8,973 head of cattle with 2,404 heifer calves being registered in that year.
As importing countries have developed their own national herds to suit their particular conditions the export of cattle has declined in recent years, however, top bloodlines from the Island herd are still exported mainly in the form of frozen bull semen and embryos.
The qualities of the ‘Jersey’ breed have been much prized by dairy farmers all over the world and the ‘Jersey’ can now be found grazing fields in over 100 countries.
The adaptability of the ‘Jersey’ to a variety of different environments ensures that the breed will thrive in climates where other dairy breeds struggle.
Major populations of ‘Jersey’ cattle can be found in the USA, Canada (pictured here), New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Denmark and Latin America.
With an estimated world wide population in excess of 2 million head, the ‘Jersey’ is now the second most numerous breed of dairy cow and an important influence in the global dairy industry.
Most countries with a significant number of ‘Jersey’ cattle have founded a breed association to manage and promote the breed in their respective countries. In 1949 the leading countries held a conference in this Island and in 1951 formed the World Jersey Cattle Bureau as an umbrella organisation for the breed around the world.
The World Jersey Cattle Bureau has its office in the RJA&HS headquarters building and details of its work can be found on the WJCB web site: http://wjcb.wildapricot.org/