The Pasture-Fed Livestock Association has started to certify UK dairy farms producing milk from cows that are only fed fresh and conserved grass and pasture
Dairy farms producing milk from just grass can now be certified with the Pasture for Milk logo.
The Pasture-Fed Livestock Association (PFLA) has been certifying 100 per cent grass fed beef and sheep farmers for two years, allowing them to use the logo in their marketing materials.
“Certifying dairy farmers who are producing milk of very high nutritional quality from just pasture, is the obvious next step for us,” said Russ Carrington, general manager at PFLA.
“While we recognise that producing milk just from grass is not easy, there are several herds, led by brave, knowledgeable and entrepreneurial individuals, that are already doing this.
“We feel it is the right time to acknowledge their achievements, and to provide clear recognition for consumers seeking to buy Pasture for Life certified milk and dairy products.”
The PFLA ran a pilot project in 2017 with eight farms, which included three micro-dairies of 29 cows or fewer, two medium-scale farms of 30 to 149 cows and three large-scale farms with 350 cows each.
Production costs were lower than conventionally farmed herds, with no feed costs and often lower infrastructure and labour costs.
Yields were lower, but higher quality milk often achieved a higher price ranging from 40ppl when sold wholesale for cheese to £3/litre for direct retail.
Mr Carrington added: “There are other benefits of Pasture for Life dairying.
“The animals, which are often cross-breeds, tend to be in good health so vet and med costs are very low, and they are fertile so replacement costs are small.
“The cows also live and produce for many years – most having six or more lactations.
“The milk these farmers are producing is tasty and suitable for many uses, from cheese-making to frothy cappuccinos or traditional liquid milk. With higher levels of important vitamins and fatty acids such as Omega 3s, it can also contribute to human health too.
“We believe there is a bright future for Pasture for Life milk and dairy products.”
The PFLA is currently in talks with 26 other UK dairy farmers about becoming certified ‘Pasture for Life’ and hopes to encourage the development of new routes to market for farmers to service growing consumer interest.