[World Jersey Bulletin. January 1994]
Colombia imported its first Jerseys in 1946 from the USA to Hacienda Timiza which is located in the flat higlands near Bogota. In 1951 a second importation of Jerseys was done by the Department of Agriculture and were taken to Granja de Armero at Tolima.
With these importations, the first studies concerning adaptability, milk production and cross-breeding was undertaken.
In 1960, the Department of Agriculture from Tolima imported twelve animals from the Island of Jersey for the purpose of crossing the sons of these cows with native cattle to increase milk production.
In 1963 or 1964 the Association of Coffee Growers of Colombia, looking for Agricultural diversification, promoted the importation of Jerseys from the USA. These cattle were taken to small farms and due to bad management and the absence of a Breed Association to uphold records, the Jersey declined in quality and almost disappeared at the end of the 70s.
In 1980 an importation of Jerseys from the USA prompted breeders to form the Colombian Jersey Breeders Association which was inaugurated on October 6, 1981.
The Colombian Jersey 1994.
The Colombian Jersey Association today has 46 members with herds located in different parts of the country. There are Jerseys from 250 meters to 3.100 meters above sea level and temperatures range from 3C to 35 and rainfall from 600 mm to 2500mm.
In all climates and conditions the breed has shown great adaptability and resistance to tropical diseases.
In June 1983 the Association started to register Jersey cattle, and in the following ten years over 5.500 females have been registered. One of the benefits of the introduction of the Jersey to Colombia has been the contribution to the cross-breeding with purebred and native cattle for increased milk production.
Upgrading has been done on Holsteins, Simmentals, Brown Swiss and Santa Gergrudis, as well as native breeds such as Harton, Lucerna and San Martinero. These are crossbred cattle iin production today, and the excellent characterics of the Jersey do show through, like endurance, good grazes, early calving, adaptability, smaller size, better milk quality, and improved udderr and body conformation.
The behaviour of the purebred and the Jersey crossbreds in the coffee planting area, one of the hardest areas for cattle, is excellent and the Jerseys acclimatize easily and yield without difficulties.
All of these qualities are important for the economy of the Colombian breeders, as they have to work in arduos conditions and the Jersey is proving to be increasingly popular in the country.