Since his early days as a dairy producer, North Devon farmer David Brown had always regarded Jerseys as show cows unsuitable for commercial production. “I thought of it as a show cow; the breed had been traded on that for years, and some people still see it that way,” he says.
Following a breakdown with foot and mouth disease (FMD) in 2001, David initially restocked his herd with traditional Holstein cows – the way his forefathers had done when they set up the dairy at East Hele in Buckland Brewer in 1945. However, he soon found the Holsteins struggled to hit the milk constituent targets demanded for his cheese contract with nearby Parkham Farms.
“We had a couple of years without dairy cows after FMD, but when we got back into milking, we restocked with black and whites,” says David. “But because they struggled to meet the butterfat targets, we brought in 50 VikingJersey in-calf heifers from Denmark as a quick fix in 2005,” he adds.