We recently collected a limited supply of semen on two “outcross” pedigree Jersey sires who have polled heads and possess the most desired Casein (protein) genes.
The goal in this outcross selection was to produce a Jersey with superior constitutional strength, more resilient udders, strong natural fertility, and ultimately more longevity of production. Our current herd has enough longevity that we only need to replace 10% of our cows annually.
Keep in mind, our herd is managed as a grass dairy—heifers raised on grass, cows fed a primarily grass ration (rotation grazing in season, wrapped bale long stem winter forage) limited to 6 to 8 pounds of grain daily—imitating a typical organic dairy design.
For developing organic milk markets, the desired Casein gene is “A2 Beta Casein”. We have identified several such sires from outcross bloodlines, and are linebreeding them.
Nutrition specialists believe A2 Beta Casein (found active in fluid milk, yogurt, cultured cream) offers many health benefits, especially to those suffering autoimmune diseases.
For dairies pursuing cheese making the desired Casein gene is “B Kappa Casein” (cheese yield increases up to 15%). For dairies pursuing yogurt making the desired Casein gene is “A Kappa Casein” (flavor enhancement).
For dairies tired of dehorning, naturally polled offers an escape from a dirty job that has been proven to set back calf growth rates. We have some animals that are homozygous (“pure”) polled.