Do Guernsey or Jersey Cows Produce the Better Milk?
Channel Island cow's milk is universally accepted as being the best milk in the world, hence why so many countries now have large herds of both Guernsey and Jersey cows. The question that comes up gain and again though, is which milk is better, Guernsey milk or Jersey milk?
Coming from Guernsey myself many might accuse me of being bias towards Guernsey milk, but that is not true, and I intend to look at all the information available in order to come up with an answer to the question of which cows produce the better milk overall.
The Facts on Guernsey Milk
1) Guernsey milk contains 3 times as much omega 3 as other milks.
2) Beta Casein A2 - When tested in the UK Guernsey milk tested had more than 95% A2 which compares with 40% A2 in Jersey milk and 15% in 'ordinary milk'.
3) Beta Carotene - This is not digested by Guernsey cows so it passes into the milk and produces the wonderful golden colour. Beta Carotene is found in green vegetable matter i.e. grass and is thought to give protection against certain cancers. It is known that the consumption of vegetables is good for you. Therefore drinking Guernsey milk should provide the same health advantages.
4) Guernsey milk contains 12% more protein, 30% more cream, 33% more vitamin D, 25% more vitamin A and 15% more calcium than average milk. On average they produce milk of: 4.65% Butterfat and 3.55% Protein. The fat and protein content of Guernsey milk is higher than that of 'ordinary' milk, meaning it has a better balance then Jersey milk and is therefore 95% fat free.
The Facts on Jersey Milk
1) Jersey milk contains; 18% more protein, 20% more calcium and 25% more butterfat than average milk, (a butterfat level up to about 6.8%.)
2) Skim or low fat Jersey milk still has the taste of whole milk due to its higher solids—not-fat content.
3) Jersey milk has been shown to contain more Vitamins A and Vitamins B1 per litre than Holstein milk. In addition, Jersey milk has an extremely high concentration of B2 (riboflavin) .
4) Jersey milk provides the most nutrition per given unit of volume. If a person were consuming Holstein low fat milk, 9.64 ounces of milk would need to be consumed in order to receive the same amount of nutrition from consuming 8 ounces of Jersey milk.
General Facts About Channel Islands Milk.
In Devil in the Milk, Craig Potton Publishing, Nelson, 2007, Professor Keith Woodford explains the differences between 'normal' milk and A2 milk.
Professor Woodford compares studies of heart disease in countries which consume A1 milk and countries which consume A2 milk and finds a strong correlation between consumption of A1 milk and heart disease.
He also finds a correlation between heart disease and type 1 diabetes. He suggests that A1 milk may be implicated in a range of other physical and mental problems.
If the different types of milk are taken into account, this could (rather than the red wine hypothesis) explain why both the French and the Masai, whilst having high dairy diets, have comparatively low levels of heart disease. In each case, those persons would appear to consume only A2 milk. The Finns, on the other hand, have high dairy diets but consume predominantly A1 milk - and have high levels of heart disease.
There have also been claims that the A2 milk could be beneficial to autistic children, but firm proof is so far lacking.
Q. What breeds of dairy cattle typically produce the lowest percentage of A1 milk?
A. Ranking of breeds based on published research shows that the ranking is as shown below for the six most common dairy breeds from least to most A1 genetics (from least to most for potential BCM7 production with digestion)
Best 1. Guernsey
2. Brown Swiss
3. Ayrshire, Jersey, Milking Shorthorn (all equal)
Worst 4. Holstein
Gold Top and Breakfast Milk are unique in that the milk comes exclusively from pedigree herds of Jersey & Guernsey cows, usually referred to by the dairy trade as "Channel Islands milk".
Channel Island milk is rich and creamy yet is still only 5% fat. It tastes delicious as a drink in its own right, and anything made with Channel Island milk also takes on this superiority.
The quality of the milk produced by these amazing, creatures is unsurpassed – it is rich, creamy and golden as well as naturally high in protein and calcium.
Approximate Nutrition Levels in Tesco Finest Channel Island Milk
Nutrition per 100ml
Energy kCal 80kCal
Energy KJ 335kJ
of which sugars 4.7g
of which saturates 3.4g
A1 & A2 Results by Cattle Breed.
So Which is the Best Milk?
Looking at all the evidence I have to honestly say I don't think there is an actual answer to the question. The problem is that we all look for different qualities in our milk, therefore what qualifies as making one milk better than another; is it the taste, the health factor, the versatility or something else?
I have spoken to people who have drunk both Guernsey and Jersey milk on many occasions, and I have to say the majority seemed to prefer the taste of Guernsey milk. Guernsey milk can boast the higher levels of A2, Omega 3 and Beta Casein and is said to have the better overall 'balance' of nutrients compared to Jersey milk.
Jersey milk on the other hand has an extremely high level of riboflavin, provides the most nutrition per unit of volume and their low fat milk still has the taste of whole milk.The fat globules are the largest of any dairy breed. Because of the large globules, the cream rises faster and churns far quicker than cream from other breeds.
I honestly can't call this one fairly as I don't actually feel there is a correct answer to the question I asked. If you asked me personally to judge purely on taste alone I would say I prefer the Guernsey milk, but to be fair a blind taste test conducted over at least 50 individuals would probably be the best way to get a general consensus of opinion.
As for the nutrient levels, well, it appears to be a case of 'swings and roundabouts', one milk may have more of one nutrient and less of another, whilst the same situation may be reversed on the next nutrient. Perhaps this is why so much milk in the UK now is sold as "Channel Island Milk", and is actually a blend of the milk produced by both Guernsey and Jersey cows, therefore producing a perfect all round balance.
Living in Guernsey we can mainly only buy Guernsey milk (and I love it), but on the occasions I visit Jersey I love their milk too and have no problem with enjoying it in much the same way I enjoy the Guernsey milk. My advice would therefore be, if you live in a part of the world where you have a choice over buying either Guernsey or Jersey milk, choose either and you won't be disappointed, but as an experiment do try to buy one of each kind so that you can conduct your own personal taste test, and then decide for yourselves which milk you and your family prefer.
A Jersey Calf
A Guernsey Cow and her Calf
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