The Jersey breed is a specialist dairy breed.

It distinguishes itself by its typical brown colour and black feet. The mature liveweight of Jersey cows is significantly less than that of other breeds. It has higher solids milk content and produces more per kg of liveweight.


  • produce more milkfat per unit of feed
  • are more productive from less stress and injury
  • are fast to milk
  • have approximately half as many cases of mastitis as those of heavier breeds
  • do less pugging damage due to weight
  • are most tolerant to once-a-day milking
  • cycle about a week faster from each calving
  • are significantly more fertile under high-stocked systems New Zealand
  • have a 39% greater volume of rumen, 18% greater DM intake and 20% faster passage of DM—yet have the same efficiency of digestions (extract energy from DM as efficiently)*
    *World Jersey Cattle Bureau

Jersey population

New Zealand has the largest population of Jerseys in the world with over 900,000 Jerseys of all ages. At November 2015 there are 887,000 milking Jersey cows in the national herd of 5.0 million milking cows (17%).

Summary of facts – Jerseys =

  • Productive
  • Efficient Leaders in BW
  • Profitable
  • Solid protein
  • High fertility
  • Calving ease
  • Longevity

Research Summary

The following table is a summary of research findings over time from around New Zealand and around the world and includes other observations about the advantages Jerseys offer over other breeds of dairy cattle.

Energy to Milk Fat40%31%Jerseys produce more milkfat per unit of feed
Energy to Lactose13%15%Less Lactose also means less volume resulting in less charges for volume under a manufacturing dairy industry.
Total Milk Energy69%61%A significant difference – 13%
Energy to Maintenance28%33%Jerseys take less to maintain
Energy to Weight Gain2%6%Jerseys divert energy to milk rather than carcass size and weight.
Ratio of Milk energy to Maintenance2.461.8533% advantage to Jersey
Breed Comparison trials

Jersey – The Most Profitable & Sustainable Cow

Commissioned by Jersey Australia, ‘Jersey – The Most Profitable & Sustainable Cow’ was prepared in 2021 by Dr Steve Little, Principal Consultant, Capacity+ Ag Consulting.  The desktop economic modelling of Jerseys vs Holstein Friesians in Australian dairy production systems was produced by Scott Barnett.


Report reproduced courtesy of Jersey Australia.