I know you’ve been waiting in anticipation for my next tutorial about the North American dairy breeds. Today, I’m going to educate you (and myself) about Guernseys, pronounced Gern-zee. Here’s a picture for ya:
There’s not really a lot of information out there on this breed because their popularity has declined. According to my research the reason is because more dairy farmers in America get paid for the quantity of milk their cows are able to produce, not based on components like butterfat and protein. (We belong to a co-op that pays based on components and that’s why the majority of our herd consists of Jerseys. They’re little butter makin’ machines. Those farmers that get paid off of quantity alone usually milk Holsteins.)
The Guernsey breed is considered a medium-size breed. Their claim to fame is golden milk.
Yup, you read right….yellow milk. I love dairy products, but if I saw this in my fridge, I believe I would have to pass.
In fact, I have a confession to make. I will not drink milk straight from the cow. It gets icy cold in the bulk tank, but I just can’t do it. Nor do I like to skim the cream off the top if it’s in a pitcher. I consider myself a very adaptable person, but that’s a “city” part of me that’s pretty engrained.
Not to mention, whole milk makes me feel guilty.
So, I go buy my 1% at the store and feel good about it because I am, in essence, supporting myself and then I can make up the difference in guilt by eating my weight in peppermint patties. See how that works? It’s all about balance.
Well, I kinda got off track there. The reason Guernsey milk has a golden color is due to the fact that it’s full of beta carotene, which is a source of Vitamin A that has been found to reduce the risks of certain types of cancer. The milk also has a high butterfat and protein content percentage. The average Guernsey can produce around 7 gallons of milk a day. They can do this very efficiently, too, because they can produce this amount off of 20-30% less feed per pound of milk than the larger breeds. When you think of the quality of milk their producing, this is pretty impressive. If a dairy farmer does intensive grazing, the Guernsey cow is a good choice because it’s easier to realize a profit when you don’t have to put as much into management. The Guernsey breed was made for pasture-based milking because they’re excellent grazers.
One last tidbit: They can take the heat better than other breeds, as well.
So, there you have it, folks! Oh wait, I know some of you like to see the babies, too. Here’s one that’s up close and personal.
So cute! My favorite part of dairy farming!
The Dairy Maid