Newsletter from US Jersey

American Jersey Cattle Association

6486 East Main Street                                                            Contact: Cherie L. Bayer, Ph.D.

Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068-2362                                          614/755-5857 Ext. 334

Phone 614/861-3636     Fax 614/861-8040



Reynoldsburg, Ohio, August 27, 2008—After the August 2008 USDA genetic summaries, Jersey continues to be the leader for Productive Life among the six dairy breeds evaluated in the United States.

Data published by the USDA Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory (AIPL) show that for cows born over a five-year period—1997 through 2001—Jerseys have the longest average productive life of 33.8 months, or 1,031 days. A total of 196,724 Jerseys were included in the evaluation.

This was a gain of two days over the USDA-AIPL summary issued this past April.

By comparison, the weighted average Productive Life (PL) for 3,265,113 cows of the other five breeds born in the same period is 27.7 months, or 844 days. By breeds, average PL for Ayrshire is 956 days (12,011 cows); Brown Swiss, 934 days (28,939 cows); Guernsey, 806 days (17,026 cows); Holstein, 843 days (3,204,339 cows); and Milking Shorthorn, 934 days (2,798 cows).

The trait of Productive Life (PL) is defined as “time in the milking herd before removal by voluntary culling, involuntary culling, or death.” Its evaluation combines information from direct longevity (measured by DHI data on calving dates, disposal dates, reasons for disposal and lactation lengths) with correlated traits.

Cows with multiple lactations get more total credit than cows with just one long lactation. According to AIPL scientists, this is because “cows that begin a next lactation generally are more profitable than those that continue the previous lactation because a new peak yield is achieved.” As a cow's lactation is extended, the value credited to her production is diminished.

Cows having opportunity to reach eight (8) years of age are considered a completed observation, but continue to add credits for productive life after this point.

Productive Life is a key component of the USDA Net Merit functions. For Jerseys, it receives 18% of total emphasis for NM$ and FM$, and 14% for CM$. In Jersey Performance Index™, Productive Life is weighted at 12%.

The American Jersey Cattle Association, organized in 1868, compiles and maintains animal identification and performance data on Jersey cattle and provides services that support genetic improvement and greater profitability through increasing the value of and demand for Registered Jersey™ cattle and genetics. The flagship program is REAP, a comprehensive service package that includes registration, Equity milk marketing support, type appraisal, and performance testing. Nearly 120,000 cows are currently enrolled on all AJCA performance evaluation programs and new records are being set each month for REAP herd enrollment in 2008.

For more information on USJersey services designed to increase commercial profitability with Jersey cattle, call 614/863-3636 or visit the web site at

Note to Editors: Graph illustrating these results is available at




©• Hans Nørgaard • Egebjergvej 33 • 5771 Stenstrup • Telefon:. +45 6226 1341 • E-mail:

© Developed by DKviaNET A/S