Consumer demand for milk and meat from grass-fed cattle is growing, driven mostly by perceived health benefits and concerns about animal welfare. In a study over 3 years, we quantified the fatty acid profile in milk from cows fed a 100% forage-based diet and compared it to profiles from milk from cows under conventional and organic management. The 100% grass- and legume-based feeding of lactating dairy cows typically yields milk fat with ratios of omega6/3 close to 1, compared to the 5.8 for milk from cows on conventionally managed farms, and 2.3 for typical organic dairy farms. The differences found in grass-fed milk may help restore a historical balance of fatty acids and potentially reduce the risk of cardiovascular and other metabolic disease.
The results of our new findings from “Enhancing the Fatty Acid Profile of Milk through Forage-Based Rations, with Nutrition Modeling of Dietary Outcomes,” is published in Food Science and Nutrition.