BS in Dairy Science
Dairy Science Department
The efficiency and profitability of Holstein and Jersey cows has been scrutinized, compared, and debated for many years. In response, this study was conducted with the objective of incorporating reviews and results collected from numerous studies relating to Holstein and Jersey efficiency and profitability to determine if a breed advantage existed in any or all related areas. Articles reviewed were obtained from the Journal of Dairy Science, the New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research, and the Journal of Dairy Research. Jerseys were found to demonstrate breed advantages in pasture systems, longevity, stayability, productive life, calving ease, reproduction, heat stress under normal conditions, and hybrid vigor contribution. Jersey advantages were also found for environmental impact, keratin retention during milking, mastitis, response to S. aureus, and component pricing systems. The Holstein breed demonstrated an advantage dealing with hormones and outside stress factors during hot weather, response to E. coli infections, calf mortality rates, feed efficiency in confinement systems, and success in fluid production markets. Variances were detected in responses to fat and protein supplementation, blood plasma responses in calves, and fatty acid composition of milk without a clear breed advantage being defined. Overall, breed differences and interactions were discovered in every area examined. While Jerseys excelled in a greater number of areas, an overall advantage was difficult to discern due to the various benefits offered by both breeds.