November 30, 2015 – The latest advances in selective cattle breeding are being employed to help Jersey Dairy meet the growing demand in the Far East for premium dairy products.
The local business, whose sales hit a nine-year high in 2014 due to its growing export market, is confident that by playing on the Jersey cow’s worldwide reputation it will be able to increase annual sales by 25 per cent within three years to £20 million.
To ensure Jersey Dairy’s expansion into new markets such as Indonesia and Malaysia is a success, each cow in the Island herd, which has an average monthly yield of 4,800 litres, will have to produce 1,000 litres more.
Dairy farmers, who are already improving the qualities that make the Jersey the second most productive cow in the world by importing selected semen from pure-bred Jersey stud bulls around the world, are ready to meet the challenge.
Paul Houzé, of Lodge Farm in St Saviour, says farmers have a choice of increasing their herds or, most likely, they will turn to selective breeding to produce healthier animals, who live longer and produce higher yields.
‘This is an exciting time to be in the dairy industry in Jersey,’ Mr Houzé said. ‘A lot of farmers have invested heavily and they need to up their production to make the most of that investment, and there is more planned.’
Bob Jones, the dairy’s head of marketing and export, who recently attended China’s biggest food and drink trade show, FHC China in Shanghai, says their first priority is to find new markets.
‘There are a number of markets we are looking into at the moment such as Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia and we had an approach at the FHC from Thailand for milk, and also an inquiry from Vietnam,’ he said.
‘We are looking at how we are going to meet these challenges and how we are going to structure these leads, but we do believe we have the capacity to meet the demand, and the farmers seem to be extremely keen.’
Although supplying Asia and the Far East with dairy products to meet a growing demand from the emerging affluent classes is a highly competitive market, Jersey Dairy differentiates itself from its competitors by highlighting its best selling points, local provenance, full traceability and the disease-free status of the Island herd.
Jersey Dairy hopes to complete the lengthy process of applying for licences and meeting China’s strict food standards in 2016 to begin exporting its full range of products the following year.
‘We believe that 2017 will be when all our achievements start to come home and by then we will be exporting our full range of products to China. We would like to think that in the next two to three years that Jersey Dairy will become a £20 million a year business as we are approaching £15 million at the moment.’