The Grass-fed Dairy Cow
Grain-free dairy cows...a healthful choice!
We are very fortunate to have rich soil and plentiful irrigation to raise our own nutrient-dense grass and green forages (alfalfa, clover, triticale, oat grass, and forbs) for all of our cows. Allowing them to graze on these mixed pastures gives them a choice of exactly which nutrients they need at any given time during our growing season of nine months. This cannot be achieved on dry hay alone.
The rapidly growing green grass is what Dr. Weston Price found to impart the highest levels of nutrients in the milk. We put up our own grass and alfalfa hay for the winter and allow the cows limited grazing on stockpiled grass or winter annuals (tritcale or rye) to keep the “medicinal” value of green grass in their diet. They also always have access to free-choice kelp and mineral supplements. Most importantly, we recognize that our soils are the basis of good nutrition and test them for mineral levels, applying natural amendments to correct any imbalances.
We are also fortunate to only need to milk our cows once a day. This is less physically demanding for the strictly grass-fed cows and helps them maintain good body condition and health. At milking time, the cows receive dry molasses (a non-starch simple carbohydrate) and vitamins to complement forage energy levels. The starch in grains typically fed to cows at most dairies changes the rumen (first stomach) bacteria, dilutes the nutrients from green grass, and subsequently lowers certain nutrient levels in the milk itself. See the difference between grain-fed raw milk and our grass-fed raw milk here!
Our “recipe” of managed soil, nutritious forages, supplements, and once-a-day milking makes for a very healthy Larga Vista Ranch dairy cow and the best milk possible! Come down and see for yourself! The difference is our grass!