Jersey as Beef Cow

For the dairy folks and/or beef folks with questions about udders, milk and mastitis.
cowboy43
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Jersey as Beef Cow

Postby cowboy43 » Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:30 pm

A Jersey cow will produce 5 gallons of milk or more as a dairy cow, if she was never used as a milk cow, and never hand milked, just used to produce one calf each year, would she not develop her full milking capacity and you could use her as a beef cow, to raise one calf per season.
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Re: Jersey as Beef Cow

Postby Tim/South » Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:24 pm

No.
She is going to produce the milk whether it is used or not. She will either drip when full or develop mastitis.
Her milk production is not because of her environment. It is because of her DNA.
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Re: Jersey as Beef Cow

Postby trappersteve » Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:27 pm

I would not think it would effect her I have a Jersey that I raise holstien calves on and she seems to be producing plenty, she is a 4 year old cow and does real good with 2 calves at a time and she has one bad quarter. It shouldn't effect her as long as there drinking her dry. I would put 2 calves on her myself IMO, there's a lot of dairy men on here that have alot more experience than I do
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Re: Jersey as Beef Cow

Postby chippie » Tue Dec 03, 2013 8:20 am

right now we only one Jersey cow (in the past we had several). Usually we breed the Jerseys to a Jersey bull, but we have bred them to Angus.
The resulting calf, if it is a heifer it will make a very good commercial cow when bred to a good beef breed bull. The males (bulls and steers) are usually mediocre.
They exhibit enough dairy where it is pretty obvious that they are half dairy and will not do as well at the sales. If you are raising it to eat yourself or to sell the meat, you will not end up with as much meat as a purebred beef calf in the same amount of growing time.

About how much milk she will make. She will only possibly make 5 gallons if she is fed the same way as she would be at a dairy. A good quality high protein lactation feed, alfalfa and top quality hay or pasture. If you turn the cow out like a beef breed, she will not produce as much milk and may end up a skinny mess trying to produce enough milk to feed her baby. Dairy cattle's metabolisms are different from a beef breed. Dairy cattle use their energy to make milk and the beef breeds use their energy to make muscle.

A Jersey cow could end up costing as much or more than buying a commercial cow.

ETA: When we have had multiple cows in milk, we have let the cow keep her calf. We still supplemented her to keep her condition. The cow will reduce milk production if she is not nursed out completely. For example, if someone is milking the cow and doesn't strip her out every time, her production will drop or if a cow is only milked once daily, her production will be greatly reduced too.
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Re: Jersey as Beef Cow

Postby TexasBred » Tue Dec 03, 2013 3:09 pm

Tim/South wrote:No.
She is going to produce the milk whether it is used or not. She will either drip when full or develop mastitis.
Her milk production is not because of her environment. It is because of her DNA.


True DNA determines a cow's potential to be a heavy producer, however, feed and environment determine just how much she does produce. A cow with the potential will milk heavy when fed heavy and more lightly when feed lesser amounts of the same feed. Lowering the protein and maintaining the same energy will also cut back on production while helping to maintain body condition. Treated like most beef cattle are treated, dairy cattle don't produce a lot more milk than the beef breeds.
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Re: Jersey as Beef Cow

Postby regolith » Tue Dec 03, 2013 9:14 pm

TexasBred wrote:
Tim/South wrote:No.
She is going to produce the milk whether it is used or not. She will either drip when full or develop mastitis.
Her milk production is not because of her environment. It is because of her DNA.


True DNA determines a cow's potential to be a heavy producer, however, feed and environment determine just how much she does produce. A cow with the potential will milk heavy when fed heavy and more lightly when feed lesser amounts of the same feed. Lowering the protein and maintaining the same energy will also cut back on production while helping to maintain body condition. Treated like most beef cattle are treated, dairy cattle don't produce a lot more milk than the beef breeds.


There are huge individual differences in how dairy cows respond to feed.
My initial answer to this thread would have been - use the worst production jersey you can find and she'll be right.
Other than that, it's a bit of a gamble whether you've got one that will milk herself to skin and bones and get mastitis, or one that will match her production to the feed and maintain condition nicely while growing a good calf.
Most Jerseys should feed two or three calves on all-grass.

chippie's point about the quality of the calf should be heeded. 1/8 Jersey is about how much my calves can carry and still sell at the full price for dairyxbeef or Holstein bulls.
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Re: Jersey as Beef Cow

Postby TexasBred » Wed Dec 04, 2013 12:26 pm

There are huge individual differences in how dairy cows respond to feed.


Absolutely....however there will be a response and feed is the primary reason. With feed I can raise your "tank average" "x" amount....but in that process I can raise the production of individuals by twice that amount. Genetics plus feed !!. For "beef" I wouldn't I would go as high as 50% jersey depending on what the other 50% was.
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Re: Jersey as Beef Cow

Postby regolith » Wed Dec 04, 2013 6:45 pm

I'd run jerseyxbeef if I had some rough land unsuitable for dairying - keep the 1/4 bred heifers for replacements and sell everything else on the hook. I've seen some impressive enough cattle that I expect they can make the weights & be profitable.
What I cannot do is sell them on. I saw some nice Jerseyangus heifers, a week old, sell for $15 - 20 each last March. That wouldn't even pay back the cost of getting them to the sale.
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Re: Jersey as Beef Cow

Postby TexasBred » Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:11 am

regolith wrote:I'd run jerseyxbeef if I had some rough land unsuitable for dairying - keep the 1/4 bred heifers for replacements and sell everything else on the hook. I've seen some impressive enough cattle that I expect they can make the weights & be profitable.
What I cannot do is sell them on. I saw some nice Jerseyangus heifers, a week old, sell for $15 - 20 each last March. That wouldn't even pay back the cost of getting them to the sale.

That's a shame. Should make pretty darn good cattle.
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Re: Jersey as Beef Cow

Postby mojaxcow » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:00 am

I've been doing this on a small scale for years. I used a Murray Grey bull in a Jersey milking herd and raised all the calves on bottles. I sold the bulls for a decent price because the coloring and conformation showed little Jersey influence. The heifers were a "mousey" color and grew to 1000-1100# cows. I bred them back to MG and the calves were fantastic. Most beef guys in our neighborhood could not believe they had any Jersey in them. The momma cows limited their milk flow to match the calves intake. They did have large udders to start but quickly reduced to normal size. We did not supplement them with anything while on pasture. One year we butchered a 9 month old bull calf right off the cow and he weighed 750#, had good red colored meat as well as some marbling. Only a small fat cover and the tenderness was out of this world. If you really want grass-fed...that's one great way to get it!
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Re: Jersey as Beef Cow

Postby TexasBred » Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:41 pm

Good to hear you've found a good jersey cross that world for you have eaten jersey that was excellent. Your calf was also "mill fed " ;-)
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Re: Jersey as Beef Cow

Postby haase » Thu Dec 19, 2013 3:46 pm

A couple weeks ago on American Rancher, they were up in Minnesota at Wulfs limousin and for the last 3 years they have been working with riverview dairy and crossing jerseys with limousin, called beefbuilders, looked like it was working well for them.
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Re: Jersey as Beef Cow

Postby shortybreeder » Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:01 pm

Everyone seems to bring up the fact that the Jersey influence in the calf's genetics would cause the calves to be discounted heavily, but that the Jersey cow would do a good job raising a calf. What if you were to buy a young jersey heifer, maybe even a jerseyxangus heifer, and use it as a donor recipient cow? Jersey's are well known for their easy calving abilities because they have VERY wide pelvic areas, and with the right nutrition they are also very fertile animals, especially an F1 jersey x angus or jersey x holstein female. By putting the embryo in her, and not letting her own genetics into the calf's gene code, you could eliminate the jersey discounts but still take full advantage of their calf raising abilities. Then of course you would still probably want to put another calf on her so that she doesn't develop mastitis, but that calf could just be another jersey heifer calf that you picked up at a sale and plan to use as a donor in a couple years as well. I also like jersey's because when it comes to having "the will to live" you won't find many breeds that will put up as much fight as a jersey, so you can expect her to be around for a while.
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Re: Jersey as Beef Cow

Postby regolith » Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:20 pm

Jerseys are easy calving relative to their size... which is small.
For the size of Jersey I'm working with, I'd be leery of expecting her to push out anything more than about 90 lb at three years or older.
If your local Jersey stock is larger you might get away with more.

I pulled a 41 kg (full Jersey) calf out of a Jersey heifer this year, I'm not sure if she would have done it on her own & I certainly wouldn't want all my 2 yr jerseys to do that. A three-year old should have been able to handle that same calf no problem.

HolsteinxHereford are very popular for recipients, mainly because they're so cheap to buy (plus you get hybrid vigour, milk, good mothering ability). I don't see why Jerseyxbeef wouldn't be just as good, if you can get them. I'm not seeing any advantage at this stage to running a beef bull with my herd because there's no demand for jerseyxbeef either bulls or heifers.
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Re: Jersey as Beef Cow

Postby regolith » Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:34 pm

shortybreeder wrote:I also like jersey's because when it comes to having "the will to live" you won't find many breeds that will put up as much fight as a jersey, so you can expect her to be around for a while.


How many Jerseys have you known? You may well find individuals like that, but more commonly they react to major stresses the same way sheep do. I've seen too many start sulking instead of trying to get better.
I had one a while back that had nearly died from rotavirus as a calf, when she was a 2 yr heifer if anything went wrong she just lay down and waited for death to come. Did that maybe four or five times before she snapped out of it. The day her calf decided to come was the first time.
btw, I just sent the oldest jersey girl in my herd yesterday, she was fifteen. Might have been in calf - she was nearly four weeks since last mating.
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