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Dairy farmers of Canada: DFC launches National Standard for the Production of Milk from Grass-fed Cows pilot project

Published on 31 December 2019
cows in a pasture

In response to a growing demand for grass-fed milk products, Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) has launched the National Standard for the Production of Milk from Grass-fed Cows pilot project.

The results of the pilot will inform DFC of any areas for improvement, including diet, efficacy of the biomarker testing and other program elements.

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Under the DFC standard, at least 75% of the total dry matter intake (DMI) of the lactating herd must consist of forage throughout the year. The remaining 25% of the diet is made up of grains and supplements, including corn silage, which ensures a balanced diet in terms of energy and nutrient requirements for optimal health and milk production.

To ensure they meet the program requirements, farms must be certified and audited by qualified third-party certification bodies identified by DFC.

The new standard is being launched as a one-year pilot project as approved by the DFC board in September 2019. During that period, farmers who elect to produce milk from grass-fed cows using the DFC national standard must adhere to the new standard. For those farmers who participate in the program, milk biomarkers will be tested at regular intervals by a laboratory certified by their provincial board. These tests will be completed six times per year, working out to approximately one test every two months.

DFC will collect data for potential improvements during the pilot period, including diet, efficacy of the biomarker testing and other program elements. This data will be compiled into a report presented to the DFC board in 2020 where the guidelines and standard would be re-evaluated and optimized to work for producers, processors and consumers.

Based on feedback from processors and in provincial associations, the new logo certifying a product contains only grass-fed dairy will not be made available until the completion of the one-year pilot project. After the official launch, processors will have the option of including this logo on products which meet the program’s standards.

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The standard was established in consultation with dairy producers, provincial dairy associations, dairy processors and representatives from dairy processors’ associations, ruminant nutritionist experts and university researchers. The program also follows Canadian Food Inspection Agency guidance for this type of claim.

Go to Dairy Farmers of Canada to see the standards online. Contact National standard for production of milk from grass fed cows for more information.  end mark

PHOTO: Photo by Mike Dixon.

Founded in 1934, Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) is the national organization which defends the interests of Canadian dairy farmers and strives to create favourable conditions for the Canadian dairy industry. Working in accordance with supply management principles, DFC promotes safe, high quality, sustainable and nutritious Canadian dairy products made from 100% Canadian milk through various marketing, nutrition, policy and lobbying initiatives. Driven by a strong sense of community and pride, DFC and Canadian dairy farmers actively support a number of local and national activities. Visit Dairy Farmers of Canada for more information.

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