The first Jersey Cows in Costa Rica
The Jersey breed in Costa Rica [ Jersey Costa Rica 1991 ]
History of cattle activity in Costa Rica can be dated as far as our nationality.
Some documents show that the first cows arrived in 1561. This is how the dairy activity by
itself was already at least 300 years old, when the first Jersey cows came to Costa Rica.
Around 1873, the first Jersey bulls were imported from California and in 1880, the
first heifer was brought. A few years later more cattle of this breed proceeding from
Kentucky, U.S., came.
During those days, the best cows were milked in the solares, gardens of the houses and
they were taken to graze in the pastures around the cities. At this time, enthusiasm grew
towards the Jersey breed, and various animals were imported the country, but this time
from Jersey Island.
This is how, the Jiménez Maldonado family, using a few animals that had been imported
by don Manuel de Jesús, was the first farm to be established as a specialized dairy farm
on the outskirts of the Irazú Volcano, in San Juan de Chicúa, today these are the dairy
farms owned by the Robert family.
Other dairy farms, located on Coliblanco were those owned by Don Alberto and Don José
Ramón González Soto towards the end of the century. One other dairy farm that was
important in the development of the Jersey breed was Finca El Plantón, property of the
Sancho Jiménez family, in the early days of this century.
Two herds with a great importance that were established far away from the Irazú Volcano
area in the beginning of this century were:
La Giralda, on the outskirts of the Barva Volcano. This herd was established by Don Rafael
Angel Fernández Soto and it originated from 6 heifers that were inherited from his father
don Máximo Fernández.
In this mid-century located near Orosi, and Purires, the herd of Don Mariano Guardia
Montealegre owned the renowned cow Compatriota Dandy de Querebi, world champion in milk
and fat production in 1966.
It is important to highlight that the breed also is established in the Central Valley,
but from the 50s on, some of this cattle is taken to the lowlands of the country, towards
high temperature climates and with strictly tropical conditions. This phenomenon is
generalized and the breed spreaded throughout the entire country.
In 1963, at this time one of the major eruptions from te Irazú Volcano, all the dairy
farms in these locations had to be located and it was not until 10 years later that the
dairy activity started here again.
Even though Costa Rica is a small country (50.000 km2), it has a big diversity in
climates and topographies that go from wide lowlands to streep mountains, and it is
through this variety of conditions that the Jersey breed has adapted throughout a period
of over 100 years of its introduction in the country.