From a documented past of the Jersey breed in Africa to a profit index linked future

Oluyinka Opoola*, Shumbusho Felicien, Hambrook David, Sam Thomson, Harvey Dai, Chagunda Mizeck G.G, Capper Jude L, Dominic Moran, Raphael Mrode, Appolinaire Djikeng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The paper reports on the prevalence and performance of the Jersey cattle breed in Africa, highlighting its geographic distribution and describing the reported performance and other related characteristics from the early 1900s to the present day.
The review examines the contribution of Jersey cattle in increasing the volume
and efficiency of milk production across the continent. Data relating to the Jersey cattle breed has been reported in more than 30 African countries based on available material published between 1964 and 2020.
A key encompassing parameter of any reference was a well-described consideration of the Jersey cattle breed (as pure or crossbred with other exotic and/or indigenous breeds) with reported performance within a variety of production systems and agro-ecologies in Africa. The main focus was on breed and performance parameters, breed types, percentage of different breed types in specific environments, reproduction method and fertility; survival and longevity; disease incidence; and production efficiency metrics such as: feed efficiency (milk unit per dry matter intake, DMI) and milk yield (MY) per unit of body weight (BW). The main performance descriptors identified were based on observations on resilience under both abiotic (heat, nutrition) and biotic (incidences of pests and diseases) stressors, milk production, BW, nutrition and utilisation of feed resources. From the literature consulted, we grouped key dairy cattle performance
characteristics reported in each country under the following areas to aid comparisons; a. Milk production (Milk nutrient value, daily MY, lifetime MY and annual MY); b. Fertility traits and AFC; c. Survival and longevity, d. Production efficiency (Feed efficiency, milk per unit BW and milk per unit DMI and e. Disease incidences.
Results of the review showed that the smaller stature and lower maintenance nutrient requirements of the Jersey breed means that it is better suited to tolerate the tropical production conditions in the African small scale dairy farming sector. Detailed analyses on MY and survival showed that Jersey crosses with exotic and
African indigenous breeds performed better than purebred cattle with strong evidence to support the suitability of the Jersey breed in crossbreeding with indigenous breeds for use in smallholder production systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number881445
JournalFrontiers in genetics
Early online date28 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Jersey breed
  • fertility
  • milk yield
  • feed efficiency
  • Rwanda
  • dairy profit index


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