Cows, that is.
The first dairy cows in New Zealand were Shorthorns, introduced in the early 19th century. They were hardy creatures, and in those early days when a bush block only had enough land cleared for a few cows, it was useful to have a breed that was strong enough to haul loads. Unwanted animals also provided good beef.
But with the growth of markets for their milk, farmers moved to breeds that were more productive. When Frank sought to increase the output of his farm, he was already working all the hours of the day, and milking even more cows was not an option. Instead, he took a huge (but well-planned) financial risk and moved to Jerseys, because their milk has a much higher proportion of the milk solids (called "butterfat" back then) on which the farmers were paid.
Jerseys are smaller and more easily handled than most other cattle breeds. They tend to have a gentle nature, although that's not always the case with the bulls!
Early Jersey breeders like Frank were responsible for establishing good pedigree lines. New Zealand currently has over 800,000 Jersey cows, perhaps the largest number of any country in the world.
|Jersey cows, LibertyGenetics New Zealand|