Friday, 13 January 2017

First Air Cargo of Cattle from Jersey








BBC News reported on 9th January 2017 that:

“Jersey cows are being used as a key part of a project to improve milk production in Rwanda.
Thousands of straws of Jersey bull semen are being sent to the African country to help breed more productive animals. Jersey crossed cows produce up to eight times more milk than the native Ankole longhorns, and also require less feed”

But in days gone by, it was the cattle, rather than their semen, which made the trips abroad. I came across this interesting story about a first for Jersey cattle, while digging through old stuff at the Jersey library.

In March 1949, there was the first ever air cargo of cattle from Jersey. Eight heifer calves about two months old were loaded into an Air Transport (Charter) Channel Islands Limited Dakota. They would be flying all the way to Nairobi, without unloading on the way.

This unusual cargo was seen on its way by the Lieutenant Governor, Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Edward Grasett, Lady Grasett, and Miss Mary Grasett and the Bailiff, Sir Alexander Coutanche as well as representatives of Messrs  H.W. Maillard (who had made the arrangements). It also attracted quite a crowd of States officials, interested breeders and other spectators.

They were loaded into special pens on the plane, with sawdust bedding, and the plane went to Eastleigh, Southampton for customs clearances, and then flew to Blackbushe Aerodrome where 14 more calves and 6 dogs joined them on their travels.

From Blackbushe, they flew to Malta, and via El Adem, across the Sahara desert to Wadi Hifa, Khartoum, and Juba in Southern Sudan to Nakuru on the equator in Kenya. Some of the animals would be unloaded there, and the rest would be taken on to Nairobi.

Special feeding arrangements were in place, and on the way back to Jersey, the Dakota took a cargo of bullocks from Khartoum to Castle Benito in North Africa.

Three of the calves went to Mr F.A. Harris and five to Commander Watts-William, both of Kenya.

The names of the calves were as follows:

Dreaming Fairy of the Poplars
Farineuse’s Viola
Evergreen Snowdrop
Jester’s Dream
Dixie’s Lady
Princess Louise
Le Cotil Missie 6th
Reticulata

I love those names. You don't think of cows having names, but farmers obviously do.

It is interesting to note that the World Cattle Bureau says:

The Jersey Cattle Society of Kenya was founded in 1936 to "encourage & improve the breeding of Jersey Cattle in Kenya". Despite the ups & downs, still flourishes & remains committed to promoting the Jersey as the ideal dairy animal for Kenya, & in particular the small-scale farmer

And the latest report from the Society says:

"The Jersey Cattle Society of Kenya was founded in 1936 and has been serving small-holder dairy farmers ever since. The Society's current Chairman is Julius Mutea, who keeps a small herd of Jerseys on his zero grazing unit near Ngong. We are proud that many judges in previous years have said that Kenyan Jerseys would compete favourably in shows anywhere in the world."

"The Jersey judge at the 2009 Brookside Livestock Breeders Show and Sale said "With Jersey cattle winning all the Interbreed classes and competitions against all the other dairy breeds, this convinces me that the Jersey should indeed be the breed of choice for all small, medium and large scale farmers in Kenya. The Jersey breed is the only dairy breed around the world that is increasing in numbers, so surely the rest of the world cannot be wrong!" Jersey cows produce milk which is higher in both fat and protein content than other breeds."

Milk with a high protein percentage is sought after globally for its superior cheese yields, and hence the increasing popularity of Jerseys worldwide. In Africa where protein can be unaffordable for many, Jersey milk is an ideal highprotein food source.

It is good to see the Jersey both in Rwanda and Kenya both serving a social function in improving the diet of poorer Africans. As Carolyn Labey, Chair of JOA, said of the recent export: "This is sustainable development at its best, and people in Jersey should be enormously proud of the fact that we are making a permanent improvement to the quality of an entire nation's dairy herd, and in so doing assisting many people out of poverty with better nutrition and on to better lives."

References
JEP, 1949 
http://kenyalivestockshow.org/pdf/2010/Jersey.pdf


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