The Jersey is certainly making its mark in Europe with continuing development of the breed in many countries.
Currently there are 12 national Jersey associations in Europe that are members of the WJCB and signs are good that this will be increased in the near future.
With this year’s annual meetings being held in Switzerland and the accompanying tours to neighbours Austria and Germany, much will be learned about the breed in these countries. It is thrilling to report that in the ten years that Switzerland has introduced the Jersey cow, they are holding their first National Jersey Show during the WJCB visit with some 245 head of cattle to be paraded!
Danish Jerseys continue their march forward with annual exports of 130,000 straws of Jersey semen in 2005 and in excess of 40,000 in the first three months of this year. 3,500 head of live cattle were also exported to ten countries in 2005, Great Britain being the biggest volume buyer.
Denmark and Sweden have been working on merging their Jersey associations, along with integration of all dairy cattle activities in the two countries. Meetings in June 2006 will cement the proposals to introduce a Nordic Breed Evaluation incorporating all dairy cattle in both countries from 1st
January, 2008. It is anticipated that Finland will possibly join the federation at a later date. Norway decided not to join the federation and will continue to operate independently.
Two countries that Danish Jerseys have been developing with exports of cattle and semen are Romania and Albania. Romania has imported its first Jersey genetics, with live cattle, embryos and semen. Although there are less than 100 pure-bred Jerseys today, a Jersey association is being planned, and a Jersey magazine will shortly be launched. Romania is a candidate for national affiliated membership of the WJCB.
Albania has a much longer history of Jerseys and today there are about 16,000 pure-bred Jerseys in that country which is one of the largest populations in Europe. Danish Jerseys have sent 7,000 straws of semen in January 2006, and a further 7,000 straws are currently being exported there. Albania is planning to breed their 100,000 crossbred cattle (mostly Jersey bloodlines) back to Jerseys which will greatly increase the influence of the breed. Currently there are two local Jersey associations based in the central part of the country and it is anticipated that a national Jersey association will be formed with the assistance of Danish Jerseys and the WJCB.
The United Kingdom, the Island of Jersey and France are hosting the 2008 WJCB conference and tours, and discussions between the three Jersey organizations are on-going with plans well in hand. Promotional material will be available in Switzerland and mailed to other WJCB member countries, along with journal advertising. Signs are good for a large number of Jersey breeders to attend the events in May-June 2008.
France are stepping up their promotion of the breed and one example of this will be a progeny group display at the Rennes Show later this year – a first time for the breed.
The United Kingdom continues to increase their Jersey population and it is considered that more than 10,000 extra Jerseys are being milked since 2002. The breed has increased by 50% since 1999 and is strengthening all the time as the country’s second largest dairy breed.
Europe is keeping the Jersey alive and well where it is the only breed growing in numbers. With WJCB visits to Switzerland, Austria and Germany in 2006, and the United Kingdom, Jersey and France in 2008, we look forward to showing the Jersey world the influence of the breed in the “old world”.
Derrick I Frigot
Vice President for Europe, World Jersey Cattle Bureau May 2006