Meet the Expert: The benefits of pasture-based dairy

In the fourth part of our Meet The Expert series, Research Officer at Teagasc Moorpark, Department of Food Chemistry & Technology, Tom O’ Callaghan - explains the excellent benefits of a pasture-based diet in cows to a society that is increasingly interested in incorporating more natural ingredients into their daily diet.

At Glanbia Ireland we are passionate about our grass fed ingredient offering and have joined with Teagasc, the Agricultural and Food Development Authority of Ireland to inform and educate consumers about the benefits of a grass-fed diet for cows and how it can enhance the dairy ingredients produced from this milk.

To meet growing consumer demand for more natural products Glanbia Ireland has recently developed the Truly Grass Fed ™ brand of dairy ingredients. Glanbia Ireland now supply Truly Grass Fed Butter, Cheese, Whey Protein, Milk Protein, Casein, Lactose, Whole, Enriched & Skim Milk Powders and other dairy ingredients.

Tom O’ Callaghan set out to look at the effect of cow diet on raw milk composition and quality through the ‘Profiling Milk from Grass Project’ - a Teagasc funded project with support from the APC Microbiome Institute in Cork. The goal was to assess the effects of different feeding systems on the composition, quality, sensory and characteristics of milk and dairy products.

He says “we are seeing some real benefits associated with pasture-based feeding after examining the effects of the three different feeding systems.”

He looked at an outdoors perennial rye grass system, which is the most common one in Ireland. He also examined a secondary herd which was outdoors on perennial rye grass with white clover, and the third group was based indoors, year round on a total mixed ration diet.

A sensory panel was then established in University College Cork which examined the effect of these different diets on the sensory characteristics of butter and cheddar cheese. The pasture-derived products came out with significantly higher scores for colour, appearance and flavour.

Tom believes that Ireland is in a great position to continue to produce and provide exceptionally high quality dairy products to the world and meet the high standards that we set for ourselves. He complimented companies like Glanbia Ireland for promoting the Irish dairy way of life to a global audience.

“We want to gain a better understanding of the sensory components and flavour characteristics that make pasture-derived products unique and most importantly we want to provide a good scientific basis for the pasture-based label,” he said.

Truly Grass Fed is a revolution in modern dairy. Its mission is to deliver deliciously creamy, naturally nourishing products that raise the quality bar in the Irish dairy industry. Irish herds enjoy a stress-free lifestyle with plenty of room to roam in Ireland’s lush green fields. The Irish cow’s diet is 95% grass verified with the other 5% made up of grains, which are fed to the cows during the winter months when the temperature drops just enough for grass growth to slow.

Our ‘Meet the Expert’ series introduces the people within our network who play vital roles in advancing dairy, the natural way. Through experts in milk quality, nutrition, dairy science and grass fed health to name a few; we carefully craft our offering to deliver better-for-you dairy ingredients.

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