About The Breed
The Jersey breed originated over 600 years ago on the Island of Jersey, located in the English Channel
between France and England. Today, outstanding herds of Jerseys can be found from Denmark to New Zealand, from Canada to South
America, and from South Africa to Japan.
The first Jerseys to be registered by the American Jersey Cattle Association were imported to the
United States in 1850, but cattle from Jersey Island had been imported to this country much earlier. Today, there are almost
400,000 Jersey cows in the United States and they are an important part of the dairy industry in all 50 states. California
has the most Jersey cows, followed by Wisconsin, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.
Jersey calves weigh about 55 pounds at birth. Mature Jersey females usually weigh about 950 pounds
and males about 1,500 pounds. Jerseys reach maturity the earliest of all dairy breeds and are efficient reproducers. They
also have the longest productive life, or longevity in the milking herd, of any dairy breed. Jerseys are more tolerant of
heat than the larger breeds, and are adapted to a wide range of climatic and geographical conditions.
Jersey milk has a rich, smooth flavor because it naturally contains higher percentages of protein,
calcium, and other important nutrients than milk from other dairy breeds (for the latest milk test results, click here). The
extra protein is the reason Jersey milk yields the greatest amount of cheddar cheese: 12.35 pounds of cheese from 100 pounds
of milk. This compares to the yield of average milk produced in the United States of 10.04 pounds of cheese.
The Jersey is the most efficient dairy producer in the world, producing more pounds of milk per pound
of body weight than any other breed. An average Jersey in the United States produces 16 times her bodyweight in milk each
year, or about twice her body weight in Cheddar cheese. The Jersey production champion produced over 40 times her body weight
in one year: 49,250 lbs. of milk containing 1,645 lbs. of protein. That is equal to 70,752 half-pint servings of milk, enough
milk for an entire year's lunches in a school of 400 students.
The American Jersey Cattle Association was organized in 1868 to improve and promote the breed of
Jersey cattle in the United States. It is located at 6486 East Main Street in Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068. For more information,
subscribe to the Jersey Journal or log onto the AJCA's website below. Jersey breeders in your area may be found by visiting
the Jersey Directory Online.