What are the benefits of raw milk?
The milk production of a cow is a byproduct of the grass they eat. They are designed to produce grass-based milk and so while feeding cows grains does boost their milk production it also changes the nutrients in the actual milk itself. We both calf share and do not feed grain to our cows which means our milk production is much leaner than grain based dairy farms, but the nutrient quality of our milk is so superior that the benefits far outweigh the temptation to get more of a lesser quality milk.
A quote from the Journal of Dairy Research in 1999:
“The more milk a cow produces, the more dilute the vitamin content of her milk. The goal of the commercial dairy industry is to coax the maximum amount of milk out of each cow through a high –tech combination of selective cow breeding, confinement housing, synthetic hormones and a high energy grain diet. It has succeeded admirably. Today super-cows produce as much as 17,000 pounds of milk per cycle-20 times more than a cow needs to sustain a healthy calf. Unfortunately for consumers, the cow transfers a fixed amount of vitamins to her milk, and the greater her milk volume, the more dilute the vitamin content of the milk, especially vitamins E and beta carotene…It follows that continuing breeding and management systems that focus solely on increasing milk and milk fat yield will result in a steady dilution in the milk fat if these vitamins and antioxidants…Dairy cows raised on pasture and free of hormone implants produce less milk than commercial cows, but the milk is therefore richer in vitamin content.”
What do your cows eat?
Our cows graze our pastures year round and are supplemented in the winter months with grass hay. They have access to the pasture during the winter months and this primarily benefits their health by getting fresh air and stretching their legs.