Classification – what is ‘functional
As Classification is a ‘quality control’ procedure,
is it appropriate for UK Jerseys to focus on the top end?
Individual breeders definitely should, whereas the Society’s
role is to rid the breed of animals not functionally sound.
2189 heifers were Classified in 2007 with the results as below:-
VG = 10.6%
G+ = 52.7
G = 26
F = 8.2
P = 2.5
It is reassuring to note that the VG level equals the combined
total of Fair and Poor animals.
Breed development will be most helped by not breeding replacements
from the 10.7% at the bottom end. The Society is seeking to
compare these levels with other breeds. Already, breeders are
not charged for Classification fees of Poor animals.
From 1st January 2000, The Type Classification Service has
been contracted out by Jersey Cattle Society to Holstein UK,
thereby introducing an independent appraisal of dairy cattle
within our breed. Much discussion took place on this new liaison
to ensure that the breed is assessed along criteria set by
the Board of the Jersey Cattle Society.
The importance of breeding cows of good conformation
has never been greater.
Modern production systems impose stringent demands on the dairy
cow, not only to produce high quantities of good quality milk,
but to do so over a long and trouble-free lifetime. Milk buyers
and the general public too find conformation defects increasingly
unacceptable, and dairy farmers themselves are aware that it
is the cows of better type that produce milk with ease and
comfort, without ill health, lactation after lactation.
The modern dairy cow needs good functional type traits: a well-supported
udder with strong central ligament; correctly set legs with
a reasonably steep foot angle; and the general constitution
to cope with life on a modern dairy farm. And whilst the dairy
cow is expected to produce good profits, it is unacceptable
for her to do so under conditions that compromise her well-being
These principles lie behind the Type Classification Service
used by JCS.
The Type Classification Service offers its users two key advantages:
- It provides an independent assessment of every cow in
your herd, and thus raises the standard of conformation across
- It provides a final score for your heifers and cows, which
can substantially increase their value.
The Type Classification Service is extremely well qualified
to classify for all types of farm, from those with extensive
systems to those at the top of the show-winning ladder. Holstein
UK now classify several breeds and over 100,000 animals are
classified annually by a team of 12 fieldsmen. All fieldsmen
attended the JCS Workshop, however, the vast majority of Jerseys
will be classified by four nominated personnel.
The scheme has two basic components:
- Linear assessment
Linear assessment involves the measurement of 16 individual
type traits on a scale of one to nine. It describes the degree
of trait rather than its desirability.
The traits are as follows:
||Legs and Feet
||Rear legs, side view
||Placement, rear view
|| Foot angle
||Placement, side view
These traits have been selected in order to fit the universal
criteria that has been the basis of the World Jersey Cattle
Bureau Classifiers’ Workshop and once enough records
are available, we shall have the advantage of being able to
use the MACE programme, in order to develop Select-a-Bull type
Classification involves the appraisal of an animal in comparison
to the ideal. An overall score and grade are awarded, according
to the following scale:
|| Excellent (EX)
||Very Good (VG)
||Good Plus (GP)
A similar score and grade are awarded to each of four areas
of the cow (body conformation, dairy character, legs/feet and
mammary) and it is from each of these four assessments that
the final score and grade are calculated. However, the mammary
system is weighted so that it has twice the influence to the
other three areas.
What are your breeding goals?
The following table is taken from a Danish analysis comparing
the Jersey breed across the major semen selling nations:-
To arrange a classification visit please contact
Tel: 01923 695208