Peer-reviewed articles

Mineral Concentrations in Bovine Milk from Farms with Contrasting Grazing Management

Thirty conventional and twenty-four organic dairy farms were divided into equal numbers within system groups: high-pasture, standard-pasture, and low-pasture groups. Milk samples were collected monthly for 12 consecutive months. Milk from high-pasture organic farms contained less fat and protein than standard- and low-pasture organic farms, but more lactose than low-pasture organic farms. Grazing, concentrate feed intake and the contribution of non-Holstein breeds were the key drivers for these changes. Milk Ca and P concentrations were lower in standard-pasture conventional farms than the other conventional groups. Milk from low-pasture organic farms contained less Ca than high- and standard-pasture organic farms, while high-pasture organic farms produced milk with the highest Sn concentration. Differences in mineral concentrations were driven by the contribution of non-Holstein breeds, feeding practices, and grazing activity; but due to their relatively low numerical differences between groups, the subsequent impact on consumers' dietary mineral intakes would be minor.

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