Holstein Friesians (often shortened to Holsteins in North America, while the term Friesians is often used in the UK) are a breed of dairy cattle originating from the Dutch provinces of North Holland and Friesland, and Schleswig-Holstein in Northern Germany and Jutland. They are known as the world’s highest-production dairy animals.
The Dutch and German breeders bred and oversaw the development of the breed with the goal of obtaining animals that could best use grass, the area’s most abundant resource. Over the centuries, the result was a high-producing, black-and-white dairy cow.
The Jersey is a breed of small dairy cattle. Originally bred in the Channel Island of Jersey, the breed is popular for the high butterfat content of its milk and the lower maintenance costs attending its lower bodyweight, as well as its genial disposition. The Jersey is one of three Channel Island cattle breeds, the others being the Alderney – now extinct – and the Guernsey.
The Jersey cow ranges from only 400–500 kilograms (880–1,100 lb). The main factor contributing to the popularity of the breed has been their greater economy of production, due to:
Jersey x Holstein crossbred (JxH) cows (n = 24) were compared with pure Holstein cows (n = 17) for body weight, body condition score, dry matter intake (DMI), and feed efficiency during the first 150 d of first lactation. Cows were housed in the University of Minnesota dairy facility at the St. Paul campus and calved from September 2004 to January 2005. The JxH cows were mated by artificial insemination with Montbeliarde bulls, and Holstein cows were mated by artificial insemination with Holstein bulls. Cows were weighed and body condition was scored every other week. Cows were individually fed a TMR twice daily, and feed refusals were measured once daily. The DMI of cows was measured daily and averaged across 7-d periods. Milk production and milk composition were from monthly Dairy Herd Improvement records. Best Prediction was used to calculate actual production (milk, fat, protein) for each cow from the 4th to 150th day of first lactation. The JxH cows had significantly less body weight (467 vs. 500 kg) and significantly higher body condition scores (2.90 vs. 2.76) than pure Holstein cows. The JxH cows had significantly less milk production (4,388 vs. 4,644 kg) during the 4th to 150th day of lactation than did pure Holstein cows. However, fat plus protein production during the first 150 d of lactation was not significantly different for JxH (302 kg) and Holstein (309 kg) cows. The JxH and pure Holstein cows did not differ significantly for daily DMI (22.0 vs. 22.7 kg, respectively), and the JxH (4.7%) and pure Holstein (4.5%) cows consumed similar DMI based on percentage of body weight. Consequently, feed efficiency for the 4th to 150th day of lactation did not differ for JxH and pure Holstein cows.