At Appel Farms we have two types of cows, Jerseys and Holsteins, two of the most popular and well known breeds in the dairy world. While they are both amazing producers of milk, the similarities stop there.
Holsteins are originally from the Netherlands, a good, solid, Dutch cow. Jerseys are named after the island from which the breed was developed in the English Channel. While the Holstein produces more milk, (it is a much larger cow) Jerseys produce more butterfat (4.7% vs 3.7%) which is excellent for creating our creamy Goudas and Cheddars. When we first started to use Jersey milk for our Gouda, we could actually see little blobs of butter rising to the top of the whey! The turning of the curds was actually enough to create butter! I don’t know about you, but the more butter the better in my mind!
You may have noticed the difference in color (Jerseys are a soft brown color while Holsteins are black and white), but did you know Jerseys are curious, stubborn, and sassy, but friendly- sometimes a little too friendly? They also lick EVERYTHING. While Holsteins tend to be a bit more relaxed and shy?
A good example would be of our feed alley. Our feed alley runs down the center of our barn with bedding for the Jerseys on the left and the Holstein area on right. That’s right. They eat, chill in their special sand beds, chew their cuds, sleep, milk somewhere in there, and repeat. Not a care in the world! If you were to stand exactly in the middle of the two groups, the Jerseys would all come to the front to see what’s going on while the Holsteins would back away. Exact same environment, care, and exposure to people from the time they were born, but completely different temperaments!
We don’t typically breed them together, but every once and a while you will see a pretty Jersey with Holstein markings. The fawn color paired with milky white is a beautiful combination!