Cows’ natural diet is grass, which is rich in beneficial fatty acids. But in the second half of the 20th century, maize silage and soybean cakes became the mainstays of cattle feed. The result has been a change in cows’ milk composition and a shift in the ratio of omega 3 fatty acids to omega 6. Moreover, the modern diet makes cows more prone to flatulence.
In a bid to bring a new dimension to its agricultural sourcing strategy, Danone Dairy Product business in France adopted an approach developed by Bleu Blanc Coeur, which involves reintroducing omega 3-rich flaxseeds into cows’ diets, supplemented by grass, hemp and alfalfa.
The naturally high omega 3 content of the milk gives it functional benefits and contributes to a healthier diet for consumers. Cows are also healthier, and farmers see improvements in production and in their revenues. At the same time, methane emissions from the cows are reduced by around 20 percent.
REDUCING ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT BY CHANGING THE COMPOSITION OF COW FEED July 23, 2009