- Organic Dairy Farming
• Objectives of Organic Dairy Farming
• Concept of Organic Dairy Farming
• Process of Organic dairying
– Transition or conversion period
– Origin of Animals
– Living condition
– Breeds and Breeding
– Nutrition and Feeding
– Grazing Management
– Animal Health and Welfare
– Record Keeping
• Nutritional Aspect
– The effect of Feed on nutritional quality of milk
– Milk Lactose Content
– Milk Protein Content
– Vitamins and Antioxidants
• Ethical Aspect
– “The Good Health”
– Cows Become Part of the Farming System
– Animal welfare
• Economical Aspect
– More economic return
• Certifying bodies worldwide
• Process of certification and USDA organic
• The USDA Organic
• Various categories of Organic certifications
Organic Integrity and organic promises: The overview of organic goodness
• Organic Milk and Milk Products
• Superiority in terms of quality of products
• Premium nutritional quality of organic milk and milk products fat:
• CLA (conjugated linoleic acid):
• Omega-3 Fatty Acids
• Flavour and Taste
• GMOs & Solvents
• Organic Farming in New Zealand
• The organic essentials
• Soil management
• The good health of paddock
• The feed resource management: Optimum pasture to feed
• Animal welfare
• Diseases and treatments
• Calf Rearing
• Cleaning of Farm
• Certifications and regulatory agencies:
Requirements for conversion
Land / pasture
Milk premium Prices
- Milkio’s Organic Ghee:
- Milkio Ghee
- Product specifications
- Quality assurance is Milkio’s priority
- Our raw materials are from organic cows from New Zealand’s organic dairy farms
Organic Dairy Farming
‘Organic’ dairy products are those who derived from cattle raised on predominantly organic dairying method where forage on pastures, fresh herbage and organic certified feeds are the source of nutrition for animal. Several current studies on organic dairy farming affirmed elevated nutritional properties of milk and milk products coming from organic cows. These are further supported by scientific data where the health benefit parameters are very conspicuous.
The organic farming movement has begun in England during 1940’s. The major impetus for conceiving the idea of producing and purchasing organic food were that healthy soil lead to healthy crops, healthy animals, healthy humans, and a healthy planet. The science behind this movement involved to increase soil organic matter and biology to create a sustainable, dynamic environment for producing healthy food and feed. Concept of Organic dairy farming is a relative newcomer and surged in to this field with the growing concern that synthetic inputs to maximize yields poses threats to the environment and health.
But the paradigm shift from the conventional to organic dairying happened when the consumer’s awareness about organic dairy products increased. Thus the new concept of organic dairying established itself as a major category or a gateway product to the organic food world as soon as stepped into organic marketplace in the 1990. With days past the concept has become stronger with the increased consumer believe about the organic dairy products as healthier, natural and premium and ideal as per animal welfare views than conventional dairy products.
Various certification agencies of different countries are providing ‘Organic’ certification through verifying dairying practice of the farm. Considering the premium price structure due to growing consumer’s faith on organic dairy products, the primary objectives for world’s leading dairy brands are now to fulfill those requirements to become certified organic.
The organic farming in New Zealand is a holistic approach based upon ecological interactions and biological process of crops, protection from pests and diseases, livestock’s and human nutrition and profitable return to the farmer, which consequently results a sustainable organic dairying system.
An exceptional forage management and utilizing the benefits of ecological approach to health care, maintaining soil fertility by supplying natural fertilizers through etc. helped New Zealand to develop a low-input high-output organic farming system that reduces production costs and increases profitability while providing environmental sustainability. Moreover, the organic milk and milk products are premium and gives a sustainable return to the farmers.
Ghee is the most nutritious and purest form of milk fat which can stay shelf-stable up to 12 months under proper storage conditions. Extremely low free fatty acid (FFA) content offer a high smoke point and make it ideal for deep frying, baking and sautéing. Milkio produces ghee with best quality organic cow milk butter procured from NZ only. The method of ghee making is traditional under proper preserving condition, thus the ghee retains all the nutritional benefits, freshness and terroir of New Zealand’s organic milk.
Milkio’s raw materials are certified organic.
Milkio is honest and willing to declare their organic goodness in the Ghee through various analytical tests results and discussions.
The ‘Organic’ certifications by BIO-GRO (which is supported by USDA ORGANIC too) has further smoothen Milkio’s journey as ‘Organic’
Objectives of Organic Dairy Farming:
- Raising animals in a system considering the environmental sustainability and human health on consumption of animal products
- Allowing animals to meet their basic behavioural needs and reduce stress
- Producing healthy animal products free from toxic chemical residues
- Use of naturally available resources to achieve reasonable cost of production which confer production and economic sustainability to the farm
- Developing soil, crops and animal continuum leveraging the naturally available nutrients
- To promote animal welfare by using humane methods of livestock farming
Concept of Organic Dairy Farming:
Organic dairy farming is a self sustainable system for producing milk and milk products. Structured and goal based regulations assigned by regulatory agencies for organic farming system allows farmers to manage their own particular situations independently and individually, while maintaining organic integrity.
Organic dairy farming involves raising animals on organic and biodegradable inputs from the ecosystem in terms of animal nutrition, animal health, animal housing and breeding. This includes natural cultivation of pastures without use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides, have sufficient access to green pasture, along with the very limited to no use of antibiotics and hormones. It consciously avoids the use of synthetic inputs such as feed additives and genetically modified inputs or artificial breeding interventions.
The farmer’s management toolkit combines three types of concepts:
- Soil management and water management system for natural, highly nutritious feed and fodder production and ample availability of water
- Farm management system including efficient feeding management and seasonal breeding system to coincide the maximum feed requirement and the peak season of pasture growth
- EProcess of Organic dairying
Process of Organic dairying
The transformation of conventional animal husbandry system to organic animal husbandry system needs a specific conversion period before it is certified. Three concepts those act synergistically to succeed the conversion are:
- Feed conversion from synthetic to all natural
- Animal husbandry system conversion from using antibiotics and hormones to using naturopathy
- Ideological conversion of farmers from high input-high output dairying to low input-moderate output dairying. Although synthetic inputs maximize yields but poses threats to environment, animal and consumers’ health. Organic farming negates these threats by relying on pasture based dairying.
- Establishment of a sustainable dairy farming for generations while lowering the environmental load
Transition / Conversion Period
Conversion period is the time between the initiation of organic management and certification of feeds and animal husbandry as completely organic. It generally starts from at least 12 months prior to first sale of organic milk.
All production animals on the farm (milking cows, dry cows and young heifers) are fed either certified organic feed or feed grown in the land completely free of artificial fertilizers, pesticides, germicides or any other prohibited materials and in its last year of conversion to organic or the silage which is produced from organic pastures only.
Converting to an organic dairy farm from conventional farm can take as long as three years because the USDA organic and NZFSA, New Zealand standards require the soil to be kept chemical free for two years and three years respectively and then the animals must feed on organic pastures for an additional year before the milk can be labelled organic.
Origin of Animals
The certification of organic states that the origin of milk can be certified as organic if only comes from animals that all are born or raised in an organic farm. But in case of the first time conversion for any farm when all the animals are not essentially born or raised organically, the certification programme allows introduction of calves up to 4 weeks old who have received colostrum and are on a diet consisting mainly of full milk.
Nutrition and Feeding
100% organically grown feed and fodder without use of chemical pesticides or artificial fertilizers and free from genetically modified organisms, natural vitamin and mineral supplements, and fresh water without contamination are only used as the source of feeding and nutrition for the animals in an organic system. The use of conventional feeds, synthetic growth hormones, synthetic supplements, preservatives, artificial colouring agents, urea, farm animal by-products to ruminants, feed subjected to solvent extraction, feed with addition of chemical agents, pure amino acids, and genetically modified organisms or products thereof are not allowed. Synthetic milk replacers are also prohibited. Calves must be fed on organic milk only. However, in some cases only 15% of total feed could be obtained from conventional farms.
The manure/ fertilizer should come from organically kept animals and more than 50 per cent of the feed shall come from the farm unit itself or shall be produced in cooperation with other organic farms in the region except under very unusual circumstances such as a national, state or local weather emergency or a fire or flood on an organic farm.
The main forage species reported for organic farming includes orchard grass (Dactylis glomerata), Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis), quack grass (Elymus repens), timothy (Phleum pratense), red clover (Trifolium pratense), white clover (Trifolium repens), ryegrass and alfalfa (Medicago sativa). Most of the organic regulations states pasture access for at least 120 days (USDA) or for most of the time so that 30 – 60% of feed comes from pasture.
Feed expenses during the grazing season months are generally assumed as lowest which is another driving force to shift to pasture-based feeding system. An additional advantage is reported as increases in milk sold per cow during the grazing season, which can be attributed to the nutritious and abundant pasture during the spring as well as cows reaching peak lactation for herds with seasonal calving. However, relying on only grazed as a lactating cow diet may result in overall reduction in milk production compared with cows fed a diet that contains some stored feed or all stored feed due to inadequate dietary energy supply.
Pasture-based farms have implemented few strategies to improve production and management. They generally rotate lactating cows more frequently achieve uniform pasture composition and consumption. They also restrict over grazing of cows immediately after pasture re-growth to prevent spoilage.
Every organic farm follow a leader-follower system, i.e., dry cows or heifers follow lactating cows, is another grazing strategy for better utilization of available herbage and therefore increase in milk production of high-producing cows.
|Country||Minimum period of grazing||Feed intake from grazing||Act/ Rule/ Standard|
|United States of America||Grazed for 120 d per year||During grazing season, 30% of total forage intake must come from pasture.||Organic foods production act provisions 2014 (US Government Printing Office, 2014)|
Pasture access during grazing
|During grazing season, 30% of total forage intake must come from pasture. 60% of DM in daily rations consists of hay, fresh/dried fodder, or silage.||Organic Production Systems General Principles and Management Standards 2011 (Canadian General Standards Board, 2011)|
|Pasture access for grazing whenever conditions allow|
Pasture access for grazing whenever conditions allow
60% of DM in daily rations consists of hay, fresh/ dried fodder or silage.
|Guidance document on European Union organic Standards 2010 (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, 2010)|
|Japan||Pasture access, no less than twice a week||Feeds other than fresh or dried fodder or silage are less than 50% of the average feed intake, in dry weight.||Japanese Agricultural Standard for Organic Livestock Products, 2005 (Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries)|
Ruminants must be grazed through out the grazing season.
|For herbivores, a minimum of 50% of feed must come from pasture.||Bio-Gro and Asurequality Organic Standard For Primary Producers, 2013|
Grazing of animals in natural/ range land areas is considered part of an organic production system
National Standard for Organic and Bio-Dynamic Produce, 2013(Organic Industry Standards and Certification Committee, 2013)
- Animal Health and Welfare
In an organic system animals lose their organic status if they are treated three times or more with conventional veterinary medicines within one year. Therefore, an organic approach to animal health care focuses on prevention of disease through diet, shelter, breeding and husbandry practices, rather than treatment.
Use of natural medicines and methods like ethno veterinary medicine, homeopathy, ayurvedic medicine and acupuncture are generally common approach in organic farming system. The uses of conventional veterinary medicines are allowed when no other justifiable alternative is available or the life and death situation arrive. When conventional veterinary medicines are used, the withholding period is at least double the legal period to declare the animal organic once again.
- Record Keeping
Records must be kept on source of animals, farm management, feeding and health care practices for each animal or herd with highest level of traceability. As per any organic regulations the organic producers should maintain sufficient records of identity of all organically managed animals, and edible or non-edible animal products produced in the operation.
Where does organic dairying differ from Conventional dairying: An overview on nutritional, ethical, environmental and economic aspect?
Organic milk is perceived to possess higher nutritional value through benefits gleaned from the pasture. The beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acids are at higher levels in organic milk compared to conventional milk. Pasture-raised organic cow’s milk has significantly higher levels of vitamin E, beta-carotene, and other antioxidants than milk from conventional dairying.
- The effect of Feed on nutritional quality of milk:
Conventional feeds comprised of fresh forage, conserved forage (dry and wet forages) and concentrates. Conserved dry forage includes hay and straw, whereas wet forage includes silage. Fresh Forage is higher in PUFA, unsaturated fatty acids, especially ALA and other omega-3 fatty acids and more prominently in the early stage of maturity. These omega-3 fatty acids cannot be synthesized in the mammary glands of dairy animals and thus the contents are highly dependent on the intake of the respective compounds in the diet. Thus milk and milk products from pasture based organic farming contain higher amount of omega-3 fatty acids.
The availability and variability of feed vary with the season, which indirectly influences the nutrient composition of milk. Normally, the nutritional quality of milk, especially the ratio omega-6 to omega-3, is reduced during winter due to the shifting of the feeding system from outdoors (normally in summer) to indoors (normally in winter). The indoor feeds are generally consists of concentrate and conserved forage whereas outdoor feed is fresh forage. A vital query, thus, may arise that whether the organic dairy product is enabled to secure its ‘premium’ nutritional quality throughout the whole season or not.
In various studies, researchers observed that ALA, omega-3, CLA9 and vaccine acid are always higher both during summer and winter milk from organic dairy farms. The result also shows that the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 and delta-9 desaturase index is always significantly higher in organic dairy product than in conventional product, both in winter and summer periods. Therefore, it may be said that the organic dairy products are able to maintain its ‘premium’ nutritional quality all over the season.
- Milk Lactose Content
Researchers could not found significant difference in lactose contents between organic and conventionally produced milk. However, a few researchers observed that lactose concentration between the conventional and organic milk differs when cows are transitioned to an indoor diet. However, no explanation for this change is suggested. It is assumed that variation in lactose concentration between systems is may be due to differences in diets.
- Milk protein content:
The organic farming has limitations and restrictions on the use of supplements for improving protein concentration in milk. As a result low protein concentrations may be resulted in organic milk from organic farms. However, a few research studies reported a significant increase in milk protein concentration in organic milk (3.22%) over conventional (3.14%) and recombinant bST-free milk (3.15%). Different types of forage or grains and fertilizer application rate can also affect milk protein concentration. Decrease in milk protein concentration is also reported when red clover silage is replaced with ryegrass silage. Some reports show a reduction in milk protein concentration when feeding oats rather than barley. Low milk protein concentration have also been reported when higher amounts of N fertilizer (240 kg of N/ha compared with none, and 150 compared with 25 kg of N/ha) are applied.
- Vitamins and Antioxidants
The concentration of vitamins and the presence of their precursors in milk in both organic and conventional system are highly dependent on feed composition rather than farming system. The highest concentration of vitamins (α-tocopherol and β-carotene) can be found in fresh forage. Thus organic milk is always reported with higher concentrations of α-tocopherol and β-carotene by various researchers. The natural stereoisomer of α-tocopherol is significantly higher inorganic milk, whereas the synthetic stereoisomer of α-tocopherol is significantly higher in conventional milk.
“The Good Health”:
“Good Health” is the uppermost target for organic dairy farming. “Good health” implies sustainable dairying for generations without distressing the environment. It includes highest animal welfare by providing a healthy life amidst green pasture which eventually helps to produce and supply healthy natural food for the customers and profitable return to the farmers.
Organic farming methods are based on the concept of sustainability through improving soil quality, promoting biodiversity and protecting our natural resources for future. Standards for organic dairying prohibit the use of irradiation, sewage sludge, synthetic fertilizers, harmful pesticides and genetically modified organisms in farming.
These help to grow healthier forage for animals which in turn support human health. Conventional dairy farms can have a negative impact on environment through manure management and disposal, greenhouse gas emissions and significant use of pesticide and chemical fertilizer.
- Cows Become Part of the Farming System:
Cows are having a unique method of obtaining nutrition which is extremely relied on natural grasses for nutritional substance over centuries. Pasture grazing is in much accord with the dairy cow’s unique digestive system than confined dairy operations and grain feeding system in conventional system. The pasture allows some other benefits too.
Unlike organic dairy cows, conventional dairy cows get foot problems from standing on concrete all day which eventually increase cost of veterinary medicine.
- Animal welfare:
Raising cows in an organic practice is probably the highest indication of animal welfare in terms of health, behaviour and habitation. Organic dairy farming aims to minimize physical or psychological stress in livestock to improved animal health and welfare.
As the overall wellbeing of the animals are taken care, the herd health status of organic dairy farm remains always high. This is supported by various researches conducted on organic dairy production system.
More economic return:
From the nutritional point of view, the organic dairy products belong to the premium category for their elevated nutritional values, macronutrients and micronutrients. This results better worth against a spend cost to the customer.
A higher price of product fetches greater economic return to the farmers. Therefore, organic dairy farming is important not only to the customers for achieving good health but also to the farmers to continue the farming for generation with a healthy flow of sustainable economic return.
The organic industry now has a strong foothold in the food sector and has already become a household word. This rapid growth in awareness and higher return are continuously encouraging the conventional farmers to enter in the organic sector.
The importance and process of certification by Regulating Authorities:
The fairness and social sustainability in organic supply chains mostly depends on social values and trust.
Consumers of organic dairy products as well as supply chain actors (farmers, processors, marketing representatives and retailers) are related to each other through a chain based on concept of fairness and mutual trust.
Farmers and dairy processors involved in organic farming look forward to a fair price for organic raw milk and a secure income to assure the economic viability. On the other hand customers look forward to trustable high quality organic milk and milk products for a premium price. The regulatory agencies play a pivotal role to maintain the fairness by certifying the farm and products “Organic” through regular and stringent investigation.
Representatives of the marketing cooperative and the retailer focus on relationships along the supply chain, where they maintain unadulterated quality of organic products throughout the supply chain. Further, they also propagate transparency and communication among all actors to secure a fair and high economic return to the farmers.
The image of organic dairy for any customer is the cow on pasture which leads to the production of milk and milk products without the trace of chemical pesticides or fertilizers and free from genetically modified substances with highest animal welfare. Therefore, certification of organic and the logo on the product’s label grab the attention of a customer as a representative of fairness and linkage of all the stakeholders right from the farmer to consumer.
Hence, once again the whole expenditure by a consumer is standing on the concept of transparency and trust. So, there is a distinct association between consumer’s attitude, knowledge about “organic” logos and consumption.
Process of certification and USDA organic:
The certification process starts with getting the farmers registered with an acknowledged inspection body or authority in their own country. Then as per the agreed conversion plan the farm go through a conversion period of a minimum of two years (or as long as 3 years as per USDA) before they become eligible producing dairy products that can be marketed as organic. During this time, the farm is said to be ‘in-conversion’.
If farmers want to keep provision to produce both conventional and organic products, they must maintain clear separation between two operations throughout every stage of production. They must be subject to inspections by acknowledged inspection bodies or authorities to ensure their compliance with organic legislation and the successful operators are then granted organic certification. To certify a farm, the farmer is typically required to engage in a number of new activities, in addition to normal farming, such as:
- Studying the organic standards to understand the specific information about do’s and don’ts for every aspect of farming, including storage, transport and sale.
- Farm facilities and production methods must comply with the standards, which may involve modifying facilities, sourcing and changing suppliers.
- Extensive documentation is required, detailing farm history and current set-up, and usually including results of soil and water tests.
- Submission of annual production plan containing every single information from origin of animals to sale of milk, feed sources, farm locations, disease and parasite control activities, market locations, etc.
- Annual on-farm inspections are required, with a physical tour, examination of records, and an oral interview.
- Payment of annual inspection/ certification fee
- Record keeping of day-to-day farming, all other activities and marketing which must be available for inspection at any time
- Preparing ready for any short-notice or surprise inspections and specific tests on soil, water, plant tissue, milk.
The USDA Organic:
Organic products have strict production and labelling requirements and must meet the necessities as prescribed by USDA to be certified as “USDA ORGANIC”. They are as follows:
- Production of milk without excluded methods (g., genetic engineering)
- Production of milk should be done as per the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances
- Inspected by a USDA National Organic Program- authorized certifying agent, following all USDA organic regulations.
Various categories of Organic certifications:
Organic dairy products hold a premium prices range which is way higher than prices of conventional dairy products. Four different types of organic labelling are available based on which the price decided.
- Milk labelled “100% Organic” must contain 100 % organically produced ingredients.
- When labelled “Organic” must contain at least 95 % organic ingredients.
- Packages that state, “Made with Organic Ingredients” must contain at least 70 % organic ingredients.
- Packages that claim that products have some organic ingredients may contain more than 30 % of conventionally produced ingredients and other substances.
- Added water and salt are not counted as organic ingredients.
- The USDA Organic seal can only be used on the 95% and 100% organic products.
Organic Integrity and organic promises: The overview of organic goodness
Since last decade the organic food market has emerged as the fastest growing market in food sector. Besides the conventional dairy products, organic dairy business rise over 30% in some countries based on consumer’s faith on the health aspect of organic dairy products, animal welfare and environmental sustainability.
The lack of consumer confidence in conventional products has been seen since last decade mainly due to issues such as mad cow disease, the dioxin scandal and effects of pesticide and antibiotic use.
Organic dairy farming differs from conventional dairy farming in various ways. Unlike conventional dairying, Organic dairy farming is a nature based (pasture grazed) approach while excluding the use of feed additives, antibiotics, hormones, synthetic chemicals and genetic modification.
As a result the quality of milk from Organic dairy farming certainly differs in composition from conventional milk. Several studies have already been done to understand the nutritional differences between organic and conventionally produced milk. These studies identified that the central differential area between these two types of milk is fatty acid profile because they are very sensitive to changes with diet. Alteration in milk FA composition predominantly reflects higher forage in diet.
Organic Milk and Milk Products
Organic dairy products are regulated to be from animals that have been under continuous organic management for at least one year prior to the production of the milk or milk products. Although both conventional and organic dairy fat have omega-6 to omega-3 ratios superior than most of other fat sources but the recent trend on increasing trust on pasture and forage based feeds on dairy farms is mainly due to a significant improve the FA profile of organic milk and dairy products than conventional dairying.
Superiority in terms of quality of products
Milk is a perfect pointer that can indicate the level and intense of pollutants and pesticides those were used during farming and eventually contaminated dairy cows and milk. A gamut of dairy products is consumed in daily life. Conventional milk and milk products may contain residues of pesticides, antibiotics, hormones those used on the dairy animals for increasing milk production etc., which have a serious health impact. Apart from that sometimes inappropriate protein is fed to cows for stimulating the rapid growth or milk production. All these factors are making the consumers to choose organic dairy products over conventional milk and milk. Some major parameters those are making a clear discrepancy between conventional and organic dairy products are:
Premium nutritional quality of organic milk and milk products fat
Despite of varying regulation and implementation of organic dairy farming among countries, it is guaranteed that organic dairy farms feed cattle considerable higher amount of fresh forage than conventional farms which in turn helps organic farming to produce an enhanced nutritional quality of organic dairy product over conventional. Pasture feeding is identified to have a positive impact on the nutrient profile of milk. It increases the content of beneficial nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids, Vaccenic acid, and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), while reducing the levels of Omega-6 fatty acids and Palmatic acid. Too much consumption of Omega-6 may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes. Research has shown that consuming organic dairy products lowers dietary intakes of omega-6, while increasing intake of omega-3 and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
CLA (conjugated linoleic acid):
Despite of varying regulation and implementation of organic dairy farming among countries, it is guaranteed that organic dairy farms feed cattle considerable higher amount of fresh forage than conventional farms which in turn helps organic farming to produce an enhanced nutritional quality of organic dairy product over conventional. Pasture feeding is identified to have a positive impact on the nutrient profile of milk.
It increases the content of beneficial nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids, Vaccenic acid, and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), while reducing the levels of Omega-6 fatty acids and Palmitic acid.
Too much consumption of Omega-6 may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes. Research has shown that consuming organic dairy products lowers dietary intakes of omega-6, while increasing intake of omega-3 and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acid is another healthy aspect that can be obtained from fresh pasture in cow milk. The relatively low ratio of Omega-6s to Omega-3s in organic cow milk may also enhance the benefits of Omega-3s. Increased amounts of omega-3 and other fatty acids are beneficial to heart, brain, eye, and other tissue functions. Few recent studies shown, that the overall fat composition (concentrations of total omega-3, ALA and CLA are significantly higher) of organic milk is much more balanced in terms of health risks and benefits than conventional milk (concentrations of total PUFAs, total omega-6, and LA were significantly higher).
As the organic farming enables fresh forage as a significant source of total diet of milking animals, The milk and milk products derived from organically raised cows contain higher concentration of beta-carotene than conventionally feed where grains and fermented feeds are also involved. The main reason behind the low levels of beta-carotene is because of heat damage and breakdown during storage of grains and fermented feeds. Human bodies use beta-carotene to make vitamin A, which is essential for retina function, healthy skin and prevention of infection. Beta-carotene also works as an antioxidant.
Flavour and Taste
Organic milk is not only images of being safe and environmentally friendly, but also contains more flavour than conventional milk. Researches has been done on flavour differences in milk from cows fed different amounts of concentrate and pasture, however no obvious differences in terms of consumer acceptance has been reported yet. In order to compare taste, researchers and consumers found that organic milk to be creamier than conventional milk. The golden yellow colour due to the presence of higher concentration of beta carotene in organic milk and milk product is identified and highly appreciated when compared to conventional dairy products.
GMOs & Solvents
In organic dairy farming cows are on organic and/ or pasture, which as per organic regulation, is elementarily free from GMOs (Genetically modified organisms) and solvent extracts. No residues results in the organic milk therefore.
Hormones such as rBGH (Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone) and Oxytocin which are known for increasing milk production are prohibited in organic dairy farming. No residues results in the organic milk therefore.
Unlike conventional dairy farm organic dairy farms do not use any chemical pesticides on pastures where cows graze. Therefore the organic milk and milk products are free from residues of pesticides. The pesticide residues in dairy products may affect the immune systems.
On conventional dairy farms, antibiotics are used routinely in cows to treat or prevent diseases. In organic dairy farms first natural remedies are used for cow’s illness. If it did not work then only antibiotics are given. When organic cow are treated with antibiotics then the ‘withdrawal period’ is noticeably longer than that recommended for conventional farming.
Organic Farming in New Zealand
The notion of organic farming comes from the idea that the farm can grow up as a self sustainable system by making maximum use of its own resources and can only be dependent to external resources at utmost necessity. Part of conventional dairy farmers converting to organics has contributed to most of the rapid expansion of organic dairy farming and organic dairy industry in recent years. The biggest intrigue about the conversion to organic dairy farming is supposed to be the increased consumer’s demand of organic dairy products, greater product diversity, high food safety and reduced food wastages, enhanced profitability and environmental sustainability while leveraging the unique environmental benefit of the country to go green. Currently, more than 26 million hectares lands are farmed organically worldwide.
The organic farming in New Zealand creates an integrated sustainable agricultural system relying on ecological interactions and biological process of crops, livestock’s and human nutrition and protection from pests and diseases. The basic of organic system here is sustainable and preventive practices. The system starts with maximizing quality and biological life of soils to increase availability of nutrients and minerals in fresh forage in order to deliver maximum health benefit to milking animals and therefore achieving optimum production. A major way of achieving extreme fertility of soil for producing high nutritious fresh forage is through using natural fertilizers and soil conditioners such as the rock form of minerals and worm based fertilizers. Super phosphate fertilizers are not in practice.
Moreover, the country is blessed with unique environmental qualities comprises of abundant sunshine, year-round optimum temperatures, rich volcanic soils, and adequate rainfall. These facilitate the growth of abundant nutritious grass which is elementarily the prime feed resource for dairy cattle. The national dairy herd is made up of Holstein-Friesian, Jersey, Ayrshire and an increasing number of kiwi cross cows. In New Zealand Investment per cow is about NZ$800- 1,000 which is comparatively quite low than that of many leading countries in dairy sector.
Rather investment in land is very high for New Zealand dairies which indicate that a significant percentage of dairy farm assets are in land. The very high land cost combined with low cow prices actually drives the farmers to calculating milk solids production per hectare land rather than milk per cow to remain economically viable. Thus making a profit from the land is uppermost in the mind of the settler, and is also the goal of the government. Therefore when it comes of being organic, the country’s dairy cattle’s are by default pasture grazed and spend most of their time in outdoor. Consequently, more than 50 % of their feed is naturally accrued from fresh forage making the dairy highly acquiescent with the countries organic regulations.
However, pasture-based dairy farms are complex systems and depends on parameter, such as, pasture growth and decompose, use of supplement, individual animal nutrition through optimum intake, herd size and structure. The potential of grazing systems to increase global milk production is high, while lowering the cost on supplementation and the environmental and welfare concerns associated with intensive dairy production. There is also a strong focus on preventative health care on organic farms including naturopathy, homeopathy, herbal and other approved product and avoid conventional animal health products.
The organic essentials:
Fertile soil is the fundamental requirement for organic farming. Maintaining a good biological activity to increase the humus level of soil is therefore the key to a successful long term soil management system. Being a pasture based system, most of the organic feed for animals are derived from fresh forage in New Zealand. Therefore, the year round herbage yield on the pastures at optimum rate can only be assured through well-watered, well-fertilized, physically sound soils. The use of organic approved natural, biological fertilizers and conditioner (manure, rock form of minerals, worm based fertilizers, NPK etc.) over super phosphate fertilizers and other prohibited substances like pesticides and herbicide gives the soil freedom from chemical substances while ensuring adequate nutrition in the pasture and consequently to the animals.
The manure of dairy animals also adds organic matter to the soil while grazing. Apart from that a well planned crop rotation helps in retention of minerals in the soil. In case of over pegged paddocks, the soil life is rebuild through organic vermicasts, composts, liquids, fish fertilizers, seaweeds and/or compost teas etc.
Some soil friendly fertilizers those are generally in use for organic dairy farming in New Zealand are Shed effluent, approved liquid fertilizers including fish and seaweed products, approved rock phosphates, elemental sulphur, lime, vermicast, microbe enriched phosphate rock glauconite etc. Potassium chloride and approved forms of trace elements can only be used particularly during conversion when soil test values are low only after consulting certifying agency.
The good health of paddock:
The paddocks get well maintain through moiling, sub soiling or aerating, properly draining and levelling whenever lays low. Drainage on an organic farm helps to maintain the soil moisture level in various seasons, like, reduce soil moisture levels in winter or stop over drying during summer months. Drainage strategies in an organic farm minimize pugging by establishing shelter belts, not overstocking and not overgrazing. It also keeps drains clear of overgrowth by using mechanical methods or planting native species those soaks moisture during wet periods
The feed resource management: Optimum pasture to feed
In an organic pasture system, milk production along with animal’s body condition and fertility issues are highly dependent and balanced on energy intake, precisely pasture intake. Thus any fluctuations in quantity and quality of milk production, milk solid contents, loss of animal’s body condition score or prolonged postpartum anoestrus are very much likely due to limits on pasture intake. Therefore accomplishment of a successful economic organic pasture based system in New Zealand is based on managing the pasture growth (maintain pasture cover, mainly white clover between 1500-2600 kg DM/ha), feed nutrition (development of pastures with 20 to 30% legume is prescribed for effective retention of nitrogen to improve the feed nutrition), diversity of feed (maintain a range of grass, legume and herb species in the pasture) and optimum supply. To remain in organic pasture based system and to produce best quality organic milk and milk products, the dairy practitioners of the country follow robust seasonality of feed supply to obtain highest advantage of pasture based system while achieving a sustainable financial management.
Perennial rye grass, white clover, red clover, chicory and plantain are fundamental pasture in New Zealand. The grazed pasture is prone to change in terms of types, quality and quantity with the change of weather and season of New Zealand. The agronomical condition in various seasons, grazing management, conservation of excess growth, weeding etc are too having influence on the quality and quantity of pasture. To overcome these constrains the plant breeders generally develop season based forage species for both pasture and supplementary feed. The feed are usually higher in of non-structural carbohydrates with reduced lignin content and condensed tannins. The peak growth season of pasture in NZ is late spring and early summer. The lesser season coincides with autumn rains. To maximize the efficiency of pasture harvest, dairy farms coincide the period of peak pasture growth with time of peak milk production.
Surplus grass is always harvested and stored as hay or silage and used as most common supplement. Supplements are extremely vital during first few years of conversion from conventional to organic.
The natural living conditions of pastures reduce animal stress and remove unnecessary burdens on the immune system. A well-planned pasture-based organic system can effectively eliminate many vectors for disease and alleviate many nutritional disorders.
New Zealand’s grass feeding based organic dairying providing nutrition through pasture grazing management and supplementation which on the other hand helps in developing natural immunity in animals by increasing animal and plant biodiversity on the farm. The farm management focuses on planned prevention rather than cure approach for maintaining animal health. The farm management focus on providing ready access to fresh water and appropriate comfortable resting area for the animals. Moreover, rapid diagnosis and treatment for animals provide complete freedom from stress, pain, injury and disease.
Diseases and treatments:
Just alike conventional farm, the animal health management of any organic farm includes prevention of mastitis, bloat, facial eczema, metabolic disease, calf health management, internal and external parasite control, vaccinations, metabolic disorders, lame cows, other diseases, mutilations, regular monitoring with blood tests and faecal egg counts. Treatments are done through providing natural approaches like naturopathy, homeopathy, herbal and other approved products. Antibiotics and conventional veterinary medicines are generally not used unless a life threatening conditions occur. The unhealthy animals, if necessary, is treated with conventional animal health treatments and medicines even if it results the loss of animal’s organic status temporarily or permanently as animal welfare is the highest concern in any organic dairy farm.
Calf rearing in any organic farm is similar to any highly managed conventional farm. But the key difference is that calves in organic farm are fed milk till three months of old. Apart from this, a well balanced diet, ready access to water, stress free environment is provided just like any good conventional farm.
Cleaning of Farm:
Generally the cleaning procedures of any organic farm are same as good conventional cleaning practices but in case of sanitization or using disinfectants only permitted brands and products are used.
Organic farming methods are believed to contribute to food safety, sustainability, environmental benefits, and increased profitability and farm incomes. The policy and regulatory environment influences the development of organic farming in a complex and interactive manner together with a range of other social, economic and natural factors. Sustainability for any dairy farm is the ability to continue production for generations using the available resources without hampering the natural, livestock and social environment. The economical sustainability of the farm comes with a profitable financial return ensuring economic viability of the farm.
Certifications and regulatory agencies:
The New Zealand Food Safety Authority accredits BIO-GRO, New Zealand Ltd and Asurequality New Zealand Limited as the authorized certifier of organic to the dairy farms. The certifiers or auditor generally check the farms compliancy with the stated organic standards of Bio-Gro, Asurequality, or the NZFSA‟s Technical Rules of Organic Production AND appendices. The recognized organic trademarks of BIO-GRO, Asurequality or IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements) bring the farm not only profitable return but also consumers trust on their dairy products.
Requirements for conversion:
The regulations stated by any of the regulatory agency in New Zealand are aligned very closely to each other. A summary of the essential requirements are given below.
Land / pasture:
Land or pasture has to be managed organically for at least 3 years for conversion according to the NZFSA Technical Rules of Organic Production and appendices.
For the 12 months prior to conversion of the whole herd:
The animals are fed a minimum of 80% organic feed for the first 9 months and 100% organic feed for the last 3 months during conversion. Molasses is used as supplements in diluted form with other feeds. Additives in micro quantities may be involve providing essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals when required.
Once the whole herd is converted:
100% organic feed including hay and silage is used as feed once the farm is converter to organic. Temporary exemption can only be done through NZFSA if the farm experiences severe environmental conditions like flooding / drought. Molasses is used as supplements in diluted form with other feeds. Additives in micro quantities may be involve providing essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals when required.
As per The New Zealand food safety authority’s rules of organic production and appendices, all animals must be under continuous organic management for at least 12 months prior to conversion. Once the farm is converted all animals should come under continuous organic management and replacement animals must be reared organically from the last third of gestation, i.e. three months prior to birth. The animals can never be managed on a non organic operation after conversion. Any new cow brought into the herd must undergo continuous organic management for at least 12 months prior.
As per NZFSA Technical Rules of Organic Production AND appendices, the animals must NOT have received antibiotic treatment for a period of at least 12 months prior to conversion to organic. If the animal does require an antibiotic treatment the animal loses its organic status and can regain it only after continuous organic management for 1 year.
Milk premium Prices:
All organic dairy farms receive a premium price structure for their dairy products once they get certified by a New Zealand Food Safety Authority recognized auditor.
Milkio’s Organic Ghee:
The vital point of becoming organic for any dairy product in New Zealand is purely based on the concept that the product is manufactured from organic milk. The milk which is drawn from an organic farm, certified by New Zealand Food Safety Authority recognized auditor. Focusing on fundamental criteria of becoming “Organic” and how they are arrayed in case of Milkio, the present paper is intended to elucidate and establish the “Organic” claim of Milkio.
Milkio Ghee is the fatty product derived exclusively from highly nutritious premium quality organic butter of organic cow milk. The product is produced from organic pasteurized butter of grass-fed cow milk. The butter has undergone adequate heat treatment to ensure microbial safety and is free from any added preservatives, colour, flavour or other additives.
It is free from animal body fat, vegetable oil and fat, mineral oil and genetically modified substances. It has pleasant taste and flavour free from off flavour and rancidity. The extremely low water content (<0.5%) of Milkio ghee do not allow microbial growth and offer longer shelf life (12 months).
Intense care is taken throughout the entire process to ensure the highest quality product is produced. The collection of raw material, ghee making process and packaging is carefully monitored and controlled to ensure product safety, consistency and quality. We meet Codex Standards 280-1973 for Ghee. We are certified organic by BIO-GRO.
Our typical product specifications are as follows:
|Milk Fat m/m||99.9%|
|Moisture m/m||Not more than 0.1 %|
|FFA as Oleic acid||Not more than 0.3 %|
|Peroxide value||Not more than o.3 %|
|Foreign matter||Absent/100 gm|
|Colour||Uniform yellowish golden|
|Flavour||Buttery, slightly caramelized, decadently rich|
Our Ghee is microbiologically safe. The microbial analysis of Milkio ghee is as follows:
|Aerobic Plate Count (cfu/g)||<100|
|Coliform (cfu/0.1g)||Not detected|
|E. coli (/g)||Not detected|
|Yeasts & Moulds (Cfu/g)||<10|
|Salmonella (/750g)||Not detected|
Quality assurance is Milkio’s priority:
Milkio ghee is manufactured under approved risk management programme (RMP), which is monitored by the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI). All of Milkio’s raw materials and products are handled and shipped through RMP approved transporters and storage facilities. Marketing and shipment precautions are taken to ensure that product quality is maintained uniformly even in storage. Focusing on traceability, we ensure each pack of Milkio Ghee is identifiable and enable to track back.
The manufacturing environment is subjected to regular monitoring and food safety control to ensure highest microbial safety in the final product. The Samples are drawn from every batch of the final product and subject to laboratory analysis in order to meet the regulatory standards and produce high quality product continuously.
We are certified “Organic” by BIO-GRO (authority certifier recognized by NZFSA). As per international trade policy, the United States has a recognition agreement with New Zealand. Recognition agreements allow a foreign government to accredited certifying agents in that country to the USDA organic standards. These foreign certifying agents are authorized to certify organic farms and processing facilities, ensuring that USDA organic products meet or exceed all USDA organic standards. These products can then import for sale in the United States.
Our certifying agency BIO-GRO comes under this. We received “USDA ORGANIC” through BIO-GRO.
|Serving Size 1 tbsp (13g)|
|per serving per 100 g|
|Vitamin A||84 mcg||700 mcg|
|Energy||451 kJ||3761 kJ|
|Protein||0 g||0 g|
|Gluten||0 mg||0 mg|
|Fat Total||13 g||99.9 g|
|-Saturated Fat||9 g||69 g|
|–Trans Fat||0.5 g|
|Total Carbohydrates||0 g||0 g|
|-Sugars||0 g||0 g|
|Sodium||0 mg||0 mg|
Milkio Ghee, with a higher smoke point is a good alternative to cooking oil or butter. It is extremely suitable for frying, backing and sautéing of various cuisines. Milkio ghee contains all goodness of organic dairying, such as healthier fat composition, CLAs and high beta carotene content. Its golden yellow colour is very much natural and due to high beta carotene content of raw materials. The controlled processing stages preserve the grass-fed goodness of raw material and transfer it directly to the final product.
Our raw materials are from organic cows from New Zealand’s organic dairy farms:
Different countries have their own set of standards, protocol and regulations to certify “organic” dairying. But the key point is that majority of the feed for milking animals should come from fresh forage. As stated elsewhere, New Zealand’s dairying system is mostly pasture based and thus comply any organic system. Being a New Zealand based company and sourcing the raw materials from New Zealand, Milkio products meet the key requirements for ‘organic’ standard of several countries.
The traceability of every organic cow is properly recorded using a scientifically accepted method which is another major criterion of any organic regulation for any organic dairy farm. So that it can be defended with enough evidence to support the organic claim to any Audit system, call of Quality and Certification agencies or market recall.
Milkio is secondary producer and does not own dairy farms. Pasteurized organic butter is the raw material and procured from organic farm of New Zealand only. Milkio ghee carries premium nutritional qualities (elevated Fatty Acids Profile) and sensory attributes which are recognized as organic goodness.
With the rising purchase power and education, concern over healthy and wholesome food is growing. Today in the world of internet and information boom, consumers are more aware about what they are eating.
They want to know where the product is manufactured, how the raw materials are sourced and what are the safety measures and standards. Further, consumers are inclining towards premium quality products ranging from grass-fed to organic, creating a market for this special genre of products.
Based in New Zealand, Milkio is committed to provide organic dairy (ghee) to our customers maintaining the complete essence of New Zealand organic dairying.
We are also committed to bring all the freshness and health benefits of the organic to its fullest level to our valued customer. In the era of organic products, Milkio wants to secure a place through their premium quality “Organic-Grass-Fed” ghee.