Every year some 30,000 Jersey bull calves are put down at Danish farms and their bodies disposed of because it is only worth keeping the females alive for milk production as the breed’s beef quality is considered inferior to others on the market.
But a new project by slaughterhouse giant Danish Crown and Dansk Jersey aims to curb the senseless waste by cross-breeding Jersey cattle with premium beef cattle breeds.
“When you put down the calves it’s an incredible waste of good resources,” Kurt Bjerrum, a cattle producer from Gørding, Jutland who buys calves from milk farmers and readies them for slaughter, told DR Nyheder.
“The best-case scenario with Jersey calves is that you break even. But you usually lose money on them because they grow too slowly compared to the amount of feed they consume.”
Better quality too
But the cross-bred calves will grow faster than the pure Jersey breed and the financial viability means there is a possibility to decrease the number of calves put down every year.
Bjerrum contends that the quality of meat in the cross-bred calves should also be better.