The Pasture-Fed Livestock Association (PFLA) has expanded its certification to cover UK dairy farms producing milk from cows fed only fresh and conserved grass and pasture.
The PFLA, which has been certifying 100 per cent grass-fed beef and sheep farmers for the past two years, said certifying dairy farmers was the ‘obvious next step’.
It will enable those in the scheme to use the Pasture for Life logo in their branding and marketing.
“Certifying dairy farmers who are producing milk of very high nutritional quality from just pasture, is the obvious next step for us,” PFLA general manager Russ Carrington said.
“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 decision to roll out the scheme follows a pilot project run last year with eight farms including three micro-dairies, two medium-scale and three large-scale farms.
It found production costs were lower than conventionally farmed dairy herds with no feed costs and often lower infrastructure and labour costs.
And while less milk was produced – ranging from 2,433 to 4,500 litres a year per cow – the higher quality milk, it said, ‘usually achieved a higher price’.
Prices ranged from 40 pence per litre when sold wholesale for cheese and £3 per litre for direct retail.
Mr Carrington also said there were ‘other benefits’ of Pasture for Life dairying, including low vet and medical costs, low replacement costs and higher lactation numbers.
He said: “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.
“There is a bright future for Pasture for Life milk and dairy products.”
Dairy farmers interested in finding out more should visit pastureforlife.org or contact Russell Carrington on 01285 889 853.