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Sympathy for the devil in the milk…

December 3, 2010

Well, Jane’s test came back A1/A2.  Which means her milk will have both types of protein.  It’s not a big deal to us, especially since we have no idea what type of milk we have been drinking for years.

When the time comes for her to raise her replacement, I will probably breed her to an A2/A2 sire, and by then “they” will probably have come up with even more studies and information that will be just as controversial.

From Veterinary Genetic Lab – UC Davis

A2 Genotyping results for Jane(BCC914): 

A1/A2 - 1 copy of A2 present. If bred to A2/A2 animals, 50% of offspring will be
        A2/A2.

She doesn’t need to know.

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. Sheila Z permalink
    December 3, 2010 12:46 am

    Jane has gotten so big! Look at the size of her head!

  2. December 3, 2010 6:04 am

    Such a beautiful girl! You’re right – she never needs to know. 😉

    She’s healthy, seems to have a beautiful temperament, and will produce healthy milk. It’s enough.

    • December 3, 2010 6:18 am

      Hayden, I agree – her temperament and health are the most important things on my mind right now.

  3. December 3, 2010 6:11 am

    Haaaaa same here! I posted my results today and I took a little different slant….look on the bright side, we have gals that give us HALF & HALF!!!

    • December 3, 2010 6:16 am

      Diane, I am not worried about it and the milk is where the proteins are, not the butterfat so I don’t have to worry about my butter or cream 🙂 It will be a long time before I will breed Jane to a Guernsey anyway. So I can mull this over for a long time.

  4. December 3, 2010 6:32 am

    I think Jane is beautiful. Temperament goes a long way with me. She has grown up so fast.
    Thanks for sharing her pictures and her life with us.

  5. December 3, 2010 10:00 am

    I don’t know what any of this means….

  6. December 3, 2010 10:05 am

    I was at that dairy auction I wrote about on my blog, and talking to the dairymen, and asked them about the A1/A2 test you were doing. They uniformly wrinkled their brows and said “maybe they mean milk class. Like class 1, class 2 or class 3 somatic cell volumes.” They were paid a premium if their cell counts were below 150,000, but the local dairy wholesaler would accept values up to double that, apparently. Yummy!

    I’m pretty sure that’s not what you’re talking about. What’s the scoop on the a1/a2 issue?

    • December 3, 2010 9:37 pm

      Bruce, some cows produce A1 beta casein and A2 beta casein, or all A1 or all A2. Some believe that A1 is the cause of many diseases, and some believe A2 is the cure… It’s hard to tell which side of the argument is right and who stands to gain and lose from this latest health information. Especially since Holsteins make up the majority of dairy herds in the US and are more likely to be A1, Jerseys have a higher percentage of being A2/A2 or at least A1/A2, and Guernseys a little higher. I just happen to have a soft spot for Guernseys, but I worry about the quest to breed only for milk protein. You know what happens to dogs and horses when they get popular…lots of bad traits come out from over breeding. The breed goes out of style and everyone is stuck with a bunch of knotheads.

      I might breed my heifer to a A2/A2 sire eventually for a replacement cow, but only if he shows good traits, like longevity, good udder, and good feet. To me good milk produced here means more than having all A2 milk. That being said, if she was A2/A2 that would be great if this research holds up. I have a feeling homogenization has more to do with damaging dairy products than anything else, even pasteurization.

      More on the controversial subject:

      http://thebovine.wordpress.com/2009/03/20/the-devil-in-the-milk-dr-thomas-cowan-on-how-a2-milk-is-the-answer-to-the-mystery-of-why-even-raw-milk-sometimes-does-not-seem-to-be-enough-of-an-improvement-over-store-bought/

  7. December 3, 2010 11:12 am

    I agree, she doesn’t need to know. It’s an interesting thing to know, and the jury is certainly still out on the A1/A2 controversy. I’m sure it’s a much bigger deal if the proteins are from a factory-farmed cow, fed improperly, without access to sun and then damaged by pasteurization. I think Jane is in great hands and will provide you the blessing of healthy milk for a good, long time.

    • December 3, 2010 9:45 pm

      Peggy, I have no idea if any of my other milk cows were A2/A2 or not, so this is a starting point for me if I decide to pursue it further.

      I agree, a healthy, calm cow will give good milk. My first milk cow was half Holstein, and after the Guernsey milk I was used to it was a change as far as butterfat goes – but her milk was very good, and she was a great cow. This reminds me of the Cornish X debate, people abhor that poor breed, and now the Holsteins are getting a bad rap, and it’s sad.

  8. December 4, 2010 4:03 pm

    Hi Nita, this is an interesting one, isn’t it. We only drink A2 milk here, mainly because our local herds are Guernseys and the farm I buy my fresh milk from has Jerseys. The jury is still out over here about the benefits but I know that when Hanno drinks A1 milk, he develops the symptoms of lactose intolerances, when he drinks A2 milk he’s fine.

    Regardless of what sort of milk she will give, Jane is a beautiful animal and it warms my heart to read here when you write about your animals.

    • December 4, 2010 7:44 pm

      Rhonda Jean, your comment makes me wistful for the plentiful Guernsey herds of my childhood. Others have told me they have the same results as Hanno when they drink A1 milk. Jane will give a blend, so it will have to do. Luckily none of us experience any problems with dairy.

      Thank you for your kind comment.

  9. Tami permalink
    December 5, 2010 7:47 am

    None of my AI efforts with my a2/a2 heifer have worked so I moved on to an angus bull with my fingers crossed. At this point I would rather have a heifer that was easy to breed as it doesn’t do me any good to have a2 if she never calves…I think its nice to have, but agree with you totally, we have to be careful what we wish/breed for…

    • December 5, 2010 8:02 am

      Tami, I hear you on that one – live cover is so much better, and I don’t want to be in the business of selling milk cow heifers. I would worry too much about how their life would be. Della only was bred to a Guernsey 4 times, I ended up with 2 heifers and 3 bulls out of that. The rest were all beef cross.

      Hope your girl takes this time 🙂 The year sure slips by when your thinking missed breeding cycles. 😦 I’m scared to breed Jane – I want her to be a baby forever but I also want to milk her – so I guess I will let her grow up. 😉

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