More Australian dairy farmers are turning to Jersey cows to capitalise on their cost and management efficiencies.
In line with global trends, Australian Jerseys are moving up and now account for 15 per cent of the national herd, up from 11pc in 2005, and more farmers are discovering their benefits.
Jersey Australia's Most Profitable and Sustainable cow project has proven the Jersey cow's efficiencies in turning feed to milk solids and producing more milk solids per hectare.
A Jersey cow produces 6-11pc more energy corrected milk per kilogram of dry matter intake and 26-31 pc more energy corrected milk per 100kg of body weight than a Holstein cow.
The research has also found Jerseys last longer, have less health issues, higher fertility and are more heat tolerant.
Tamworth farmer Jamie Drury has seen these benefits in the field.
Mr Drury converted from Holsteins to Jerseys nine years ago and hasn't looked back.
"The two biggest headaches in the industry are labour and feed costs and Jerseys address both," Mr Drury said.
"Jerseys need less labour input and the Jersey is undoubtedly the most efficient cow in converting feed into milk solids," he said.
"It becomes a no-brainer."
We need a lot fewer services per conception because the cows get in calf more easily, and they're easier to handle.- Jamie Drury
When he converted, the naysayers warned he would need to milk more cows to be profitable. They were wrong.
"One of the most impressive things is that we haven't ended up milking more cows, we've become more profitable by milking the same number of cows," Mr Drury said.
"We've become more profitable per cow as well. We've done that by being able to cut a lot of costs out of our business."
The crunch forcing the change came when the farm was told it would be charged 4.5 cents a litre freight on its milk.
The change in the Jersey's component level was going to be a significant saving, but the benefits went beyond better milk solids.
"We breed a lot fewer cows each year and we rarely have to pull a calf," Mr Drury said.
"We need a lot fewer services per conception because the cows get in calf more easily, and they're easier to handle.
"This far down the track, it's incredible how much more profitable than the Holsteins they are, even on a per-cow basis. If we wanted to push our numbers higher, that would only increase our profitability."
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Mr Drury said the ability to cut back labour meant more family time and cost savings, and the farm's purchased feed budget has been slashed since the conversion.
"We're milking the same number of cows but we've cut costs out of the business. It has changed our business model for the better."
"I don't know that I'd still be farming if we were still milking Holsteins. That's how big an impact Jerseys have had on our business, both physically and financially."
For more information on Jersey cow profitability, visit Jersey Australia's website.
This article was supplied by Jersey Australia.
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