The Jersey has developed into the world’s most efficient producer of high quality dairy products through a series of breed improvement initiatives undertaken by the RJA&HS, and implemented through Jersey Island Genetics, based on the records held by the Jersey Herd Book as every animal in the island is recorded in the pedigree register. The Jersey Herd Book database is held in a digitised form and is hosted by the National Bovine Data Centre (NBDC), alongside other UK cattle breeds. (https://nbdc.uk)
All animals are independently recorded each month to measure milk yield, compositional and milk hygiene qualities and cow health. These records are processed in the UK by Cattle Information Services (CIS https://www.thecis.co.uk)
Genetic Evaluation and Classification
Genetic evaluations are undertaken by the Agricultural & Horticultural Advisory Board (AHDB https://ahdb.org.uk/dairy) to rank breeding values and identify superior breeding stock, whilst nearly all Jersey cattle on the island are genomically profiled using Cogent UK’s Precision DNA programme (https://www.cogentuk.com/precision/dna)
As part of RJA&HS policy, every cow is classified and linear assessed during its first lactation using appropriately breed qualified classifiers from HUK (Holstein UK https://www.holstein-uk.org/). Through each farm’s marketing strategy many herds have animals classified in later lactations too.
The island herd is routinely monitored to prove an absence of Bovine Tuberculosis, Brucellosis Abortis, Enzootic Bovine Leucosis (EBL) and Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR) in Jersey. In addition, veterinary observations over many years, have testified to an absence of many common bovine ailments that occur in other jurisdictions. In addition, our disease testing programme, which includes all cattle in the island, tests for; Bovine Virus Diarrhoea (BVD), Leptospirosis and Johnes Disease.
The first year of HiHealth Herdcare programme testing identified freedom from BVD, IBR and Leptospirosis in all herds and a very low incidence of Johnes Disease. Accreditation from the highly respected Cattle Health Certification Standards (CHeCS) body for BVD, IBR and Leptospirosis has been maintained since and testing for the above diseases will continue, with the view to gaining disease free status and in the case of Johnes Disease, further reducing the already very low incidence with a view to eradication.
More information on the stringent testing procedures Island cattle are monitored under can be found on these two health scheme partner websites: Biobest Laboratories - https://biobestlaboratories.co.uk/hihealth-herdcare-cattle-health-scheme and CHeCS www.checs.co.uk