Home' NZ Dairy Farmer : March 2010 Contents 12 The Dairyman MARCH 2010
IT is the end of an era for the Jersey Elite
Testing programme with the final field day
held in South Waikato attracting a large
turnout on February 11.
Jersey New Zealand members are invited
to submit heifers they consider to be in the
top league to go into the Jersey Elite Testing
(JET) programme and a committee selects
animals according to ancestry on paper.
If accepted the heifers arrive from all
around the country to the host farm in June
where they are run in a normal farming situ-
ation while they wait to calve down and pro-
ceed with their first lactation with herd tests,
weights and information throughout the sea-
In October the heifers are confirmation
scored and decisions on mating are made in
consultation with the owners and AB com-
The JerseyJET open day is when the pub-
lic and owners can see and hear how the
heifers have performed during the season.
The event was held for the fourth time at
Tim and Gayle Sneddon's Tokoroa property
milking 130 cows and attendees had the
opportunity to view the 25 JET heifers, look
at their pedigrees, production to date and
hear how they have performed in the com-
The 2009/10 season was the tenth year of
the programme which had previously been
held for two years at Louis and Barbara
Kurigers' farm in Taranaki and four years at
Mark and Judy Shaw's place in Ohaupo.
Tim said it was always interesting to milk
the JET heifers as there was a fair bit of pres-
sure, especially through calving time,
because of the value of the calf.
"A lot of them have contract calves so they
can be worth up to $6000," he said.
He said this year's line of heifers was, on
average, one of the best lines they have had.
"Over the years we have had some really
good ones and some poorer ones but overall
this is a better line."
Attendees on the day were able to sample
cheeses made from JET heifer milk.
"There is a cheese competition coming up
at the World Conference next year and we
thought we would do a trial run and put some
Jersey milk into our local cheese maker,"
"It was the first time they've worked with
Jersey milk and were impressed."
Gary Falkner, sales consultant for Jersey
Marketing Service Ltd (JMS), is one of the
people involved with the selection of the ani-
mals and he said it was pleasing to see how
the animals selected performed.
"Each year you start off with a group of
heifers that are all good on paper and you
never know what will be the best two or
three -- that is what makes breeding excit-
ing," Gary said.
He was pleased to see the number of peo-
ple at the field day, all the way from Kerikeri
to South Canterbury, and said it was a good
representation for a one-day field day.
"This is one of the best lines of heifers
we've had in the programme for many years
-- the quality, conformation and production is
certainly very pleasing."
Like other years the heifers will return to
their owners in May and two or three animals
will be available for purchase at the Jersey
Pride sale in June.
"This will be the last year that the JET
programme runs, next year there won't be a
host farm, heifers will stay on their own
farm," Gary said.
"Next year I will have no animal transport
to worry about!"
Final Jersey Elite Testing programme field day draws large crowd
"This is one of the best lines of heifers we've had in
the programme for many years -- the quality,
conformation and production is certainly very
pleasing," said Gary Falkner, sales consultant for
Jersey Marketing Service Ltd.
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