Guernsey cattle originate from Guernsey, a tiny island in the English Channel and can be found in many countries around the world.
The Guernsey cow of today has more potential than ever.
While being very versatile, the Guernsey is a competitive dairy cow able to efficiently and effectively maintain a profit.
For the commercial dairy farmer that needs higher components in their milk to take advantage of component premium prices and who are spending too many nights assisting with difficult calvings, read on because the Guernsey breed has something more to offer.
Milk component advantages
Guernseys produce superior milk in total components, flavour and colour.
The fat to protein ratio in Guernsey milk is very favourable to milk companies that are now using this system to pay dairy farmers for their milk, not to mention the unique golden colour of the milk.
Guernsey milk contains unusually high contents of beta carotene.
Guernsey milk is also higher in vitamins B1 and B12, Vitamin A and has naturally occurring Vitamin D.
Guernsey cows generally have a higher incidence of producing milk with only the beta casein protein A2 and eliminating the A1 gene.
In fact, many people, who think they are reacting to the lactose in milk, are actually reacting to the A1 protein and can easily digest Guernsey milk.
Choosing to use component improvers from the Guernsey sires available will yield impressive results when the offspring enter the milking herd.
The Guernsey cow can be crossed with any breed to take advantage of their ease of calving.
They can be bred to calve at two years of age.
Their offspring will inherit the Guernsey quality of milk and increase the hybrid vigour in the resulting offspring, which will typically improve reproductive performance and longevity.
The calf that results from using a Guernsey sire on a black and white cow is nearly indistinguishable from a typical commercial calf.
Almost always black and white, it will be of similar frame size to an average to small commercial animal.
Using a Guernsey sire is similar to using an extreme calving ease sire and will result in a healthier, more vigorous calf and a dam that starts its lactation without the stress of a difficult calving.
Bull calves will not be discounted at the market as they are identical to 95 per cent of the other bull calves that pass through the market on a normal day and better value in body weight than some of the other crossbred or coloured-breed calves.
The Guernsey cow is an efficient converter of feed to product.
Guernseys require less feed than their Holstein counterparts and convert that feed into more protein and butterfat per unit of body weight resulting in several economical advantages.
Bottom line in profit comes from the amount of solids your cows produce less the amount of feed that you input into your cows.
The Guernsey cow is also an excellent grazer.
It is a cow that is made for pasture-based milk production.
Because of its grazing abilities, gentile disposition, calving ease and the ability to efficiently produce milk with less feed than other breeds, it is the ideal candidate for intensive grazing.
Dairy producers can realise her profit potential while reducing management costs.
The Guernsey female reaches reproductive maturity at an early age and can be bred to calve between 22 months of age to two years of age.
This provides an early return on investment.
Guernsey cows experience fewer calving problems and this calving ease will be passed onto Guernsey crossbreds as well.
In addition to the direct calving ease realised from using a Guernsey sire on a cow or heifer prone to calving problems, the crossbreds themselves will experience easier calvings.
A moderate temperament and disposition make the Guernsey cow easy to work with.
Dairy farmers who have mixed herds note that the Guernseys are very compatible with the other breeds, as well as easy to milk and keep clean.
As proven by Guernseys in Australia, this cow is adaptable to any climate.
It has flourished in southern, northern, hot and cold climates.
Her fawn and white coat enhances her heat tolerance and reduces heat stress, which adds to her ability to maintain production levels anywhere.
Guernsey semen is available from semen distributors throughout Australia and includes overseas and Australian bulls.
Semen costs per straw are also competitively priced and semen is available in both sexed and non-sexed.
Agri-Gene is the distributor of Guernsey progeny test semen for the Guernsey Society.
For further information, contact Guernsey Cattle Society of Australia federal secretary Joyce Cleggett, email@example.com or (08) 8739 4368 or federal president Laurie Dunne, firstname.lastname@example.org or (07) 5544 2198.
Visit the Guernsey Society website at www.guernseyaus.com or find them on Facebook.