The Excellent Modern Dairy Breed



Sire Summaries

Breeding Plan

Position of
the Guernsey

History of
the Breed

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 A product of her Island home, the island of Guernsey situated in the English Channel off the coast of France. The Guernsey has been developed over many centuries to become one of the world's leading specialist dairy breeds.

Her qualities as the producer of an unique golden coloured milk high in Protein and Butterfat and rich in flavour made her the envy of the emerging dairy industry of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Today, dairy farmers in Europe and the Americas, in Africa and Asia, in Australia and New Zealand all know the advantages of the Guernsey as a competitive dairy cow, able to effectively and efficiently maintain a profit wherever she is found.

Look at the Advantages of the Guernsey

1. Efficiency
The Guernsey cow is an efficient converter of feed to milk products. The medium sized Guernsey requires less feed than the larger Holstein, yet converts that feed into more Protein and Butterfat per unit of body weight.

2. Adaptability
The Guernsey cow is adaptable to any climate. She performs well in southern, northern, hot and cold climates. Her fawn or red and white coat enhances her heat tolerance and reduces heat stress enabling her to maintain production levels anywhere. Guernseys perform well in both housed and grazing situations. The Guernsey is an excellent grazer and is a cow that has been developed for pasture based milk production. She is the ideal cow for intensive grazing.

3. Ease of Calving
Research has shown that Guernseys have the lowest incidence of calving difficulty of any of the major dairy breeds. This is witnessed by the fact that there is no need for AI companies to indicate 'Calving Ease' bulls in the Guernsey breed. Trials have shown that Guernseys also calve easily even when crossed with heavier beef breeds.

4. The Popular Breed for Crossing
Guernseys are very popular for crossbreeding purposes. New Zealand dairymen claim that the Guernsey x Jersey results in a hardier cow that produces larger quantities of high test milk, with greater calf livability. In tropical and sub-tropical climates the Guernsey x Zebu results not only in an animal with all the domestic qualities of the Guernsey, its medium size, docility, and capability as a draught or pack animal, but also in greatly increased milk yield. Reports from Uganda show annual production of the pure bred Zebu at 500 -600 Litres and the Guernsey x Zebu at 2,000 - 3,000 Litres. In USA reports show that Holsteins cows have been very successfully crossed with Guernsey bulls.  SEE ARTICLE .PDF.

5. Early Maturity and Fertility
Guernseys mature earlier and come to profit sooner than many other dairy breeds. Guernseys have a calving interval that is comparable to other breeds and can be bred to calve at around two years of age.

6. Longevity
Guernseys live and produce longer. Longevity is an added profit bonus.

UK Kingshay/National Milk Records survey showed that UK Guernseys had +1 lactatons over other breeds

Island Guernseys grazing at Les Jaonnets Farm, St. Saviours. Herd owned by Mr. & Mrs. B. J. Martel


7. Temperament
The Guernsey is extremely docile. Dairy farmers all over the world confirm that her moderate temperament and disposition make the Guernsey the easiest breed to work with.

8. High Components
The Guernsey's ability to produce high percentages of protein and butterfat enhances her economic value to processors of manufactured dairy products like cheese, butter and ice cream.
   Butterfat%  Protein%
 Guernsey  4.68%  3.57%
 Holstein  3.89%  3.22%

 UK NMR Annual Report 2008/2009

9. The Cheese Yield Breed
Research carried out in USA has shown that 60% of Guernseys carry the Kappa Casein 'B' gene. This is of real economic benefit to cheese plants, giving a firmer curd, increased volume and better cheese characteristics. Recently a cheese made entirely from Guernsey milk was awarded the Silver Medal at the Royal Melbourne Show, Australia's most prestigious cheese show. Guernsey Milk Products, who entered the cheese, reported that 15.36 kg of cheese was made from 100 litres of pure Guernsey milk, whereas 10 kg is all that would normally be expected from "standard" milk in Australia.

10. Milk Quality
Guernsey milk contains 12% more protein, 30% more cream, 33% more vitamin D, 25% more vitamin A and 15% more calcium than average milk.

The unique qualities of Guernsey milk, especially flavour, have always been recognised. The unique golden colour of Guernsey milk, which comes from an unusually high content of beta carotene, has the potential of adding even more value for producers and consumers. The Cancer Fund of America Inc. recently published information stating that "Diets rich in foods containing Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and a precursor of Vitamin A called beta carotene, may reduce the risk of certain cancers".

96% of Guernsey cows carry the protein Beta Casein A2 in their milk. There is some anecdotal evidence that this protein MAY be better for the health of some people than the Protein Beta Casein A1 that is found in most other milks. SEE ARTICLE, DOWNLOADS AND LINKS

The Guernsey is the result of two centuries of continuous breed development and improvement. Today, for example, Island Guernseys are the leading MILK and PROTEIN producers of the British Channel Island populations (Jersey and Guernsey).