VikingGenetics (VG) and the Jersey Cattle Society of the United Kingdom (JCSUK) have announced a joint agreement which will increase the ambition and scope of each organisation’s Jersey breeding programme.
The agreement sees selected cattle from UK Jersey producers’ herds being genomically tested by
VikingGenetics and offers the opportunity for animals with the highest genetic merit to be used in
VikingGenetics’ VikingJersey breeding programme.
The scheme is mutually beneficial to both UK Jersey breeders and VikingGenetics. Firstly, it enlarges
the gene pool from which VikingGenetics can select its potential bull mothers and secondly, it
broadens the opportunity for UK breeders to be rewarded for producing Jerseys with internationally
competitive indexes and pedigrees.
The animals will be identified using Viking’s selection index, the Nordic Total Merit (NTM), and those
with the best bloodlines could go on to be potential bull mothers or used for embryo contracts through
the VikingJersey programme.
Peter Larson, Manager for VikingJersey says: “JCSUK represents second-largest Jersey
population in Europe and has many interesting outcross pedigree combinations and a wide diversity
“Over many years it has developed its Jersey from the native UK and Jersey Island base, adding
bloodlines from the USA, Canada and New Zealand. As a result, it has more diverse pedigrees than
those commonly seen in many other countries, including the VikingGenetics nations of Denmark, Sweden and Finland.
“The larger genetic base of the combined Nordic and UK populations now makes ours the third
largest Jersey breeding programme in the world and equips it well to produce the 35-40 young Jersey
bulls we expect to join our stud every year.”
An important international breeding program
John Whitby, Chairman of JCSUK, says the breed society is delighted to have forged this
the arrangement which gives its members the opportunity to take part in an important international
He says: “It may even help our JCSUK members discover high calibre bloodlines in their herds they
may not have been aware of and gives them the opportunity to capitalise on their value.
“Furthermore, by acquiring genomic information for some of their cattle funded by VikingGenetics, it
may encourage them to embrace genomic testing. This practice is routine in all offspring across the
Scandinavian countries and could unlock another avenue to making genetic progress in UK breeders’
“The arrangement gives full access to the entire VikingJersey stud and puts UK breeders in an equal
position when it comes to acquiring the latest Nordic genetics,” he adds.
Both the UK and Viking countries have close similarities in their breeding goals, each aiming to breed
high-health, fertile, efficient animals with robustness to thrive in a range of farming systems. The
Viking NTM and the UK’s £PLI (Profitable Lifetime Index) are similar in reflecting these goals, so
giving UK and Nordic breeders a commonality of purpose.
Jersey producers who would like to be considered for the programme should contact JCS
head office on 01926 484035 in the first instance.