7 January 2000

Switch from Holsteins is economical

A HIGH requirement for cream and customer appeal of Jerseys contributed to one producer processors decision to switch from Holsteins. But the move also stacks up economically, he believes.

Maitland Mackie of ice cream company, Mackies of Scotland based in Rothienorman, Aberdeen-shire, explained his decision to replace Holsteins with Jerseys to delegates attending the conference.

"There is a high cream requirement for ice cream manufacture. As Jerseys produce 50% more cream/litre of milk than Holsteins this fitted in well with our business. Jerseys also have a natural, wholesome image in customers minds."

Dr Mackie is two years into the process of replacing 450 Holsteins with an equivalent number of Jerseys. He prefers Danish-bred Jerseys to other lines because they have a high milk fat content of about 6%.

"Initially we purchased 300 in-calf heifers from Denmark at £700 each delivered to the farm. Danish-bred Jerseys have also been sourced from England."

The transition is now almost complete with some size adjustments to cubicles and the parlour required to accommodate Jerseys. "Since switching we need 200 acres less forage, have no feet to pare and 25% less slurry. We also hope to get an extra lactation out of Jerseys."

But maximising Jersey production potential through feeding is proving a challenge. "Ideally our Jerseys dry matter intake should be 5% of their body weight which works out at 20kg DM/day. We are currently achieving 18kg DM/day.

"Quality forage is the key to improving intakes. More than 200 acres of silage is made in two to three days using our own Vicon HPC mower and a contractors self propelled forager."

Being able to produce silage quickly and in the right weather conditions is crucial to maximise quality, especially in Scotland where weather can be unreliable, he says. Grass silage analysis for the unit is 33% dry matter and 11.6ME. &#42