Jersey Cattle Arrive In South Africa

Jersey cattle were brought into the Karoo shortly after the first small herd was imported into South Africa in 1882 by Adrian van der Byl of Roodebloem Estates, in Woodstock. “From there the Jersey moved to Paarl, Worcester, Robertson, Bredasdorp, Stellenbosch, the Eastern Province, Karoo, and Cape Midlands,” wrote Douglas Houston, a past chairman of the Jersey Cattle Breeders Society in Progress in South Africa and Rhodesia. George Harcourt-Vernon from Clocolan in the Free State, however, thinks Van der Byl might have brought Jerseys into South Africa much earlier because a note in his grandfather’s diary states he had bought a Jersey cow named Buttercup from Adrian van der Byl in 1893. Her great-grandam was given as Eva, imported by Van der Byl in 1877. On the farm they apparently also had Bridesmaid born on August 27, 1891, and shown as the great-great-granddaughter of Eva.  This ancient breed originated in the Channel Island of Jersey.  Researchers agree that the breed possibly originated from France, which way back was joined to this island by an isthmus and that the breed has its roots in an Asian breed which was tamed during the Stone Age, says G D Nel in Jerseys of SA.  In 1763 the breed was considered so superior that restrictive measures prevented Jersey farmers from importing cattle from England and France, later, in 1878 these regulations were strengthened to prevent the introduction of bovine disease.  These regulations were so strict that even cattle previously exported could not be re-imported.  These restrictive measures prevented the breed from becoming contaminated by other strains and forced Islanders to concentrate on improving their own herds.”


© Rose’s Roundup, Nov. 2012 (No 226)

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