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TYPE OF CASE/THEME
Resource management, organic regenerative agriculture, animals raised on biological leftovers (fodder that humans cannot or do not want to eat ), profitability in sustainable dairy, food with added value.
 Röös, E., m.fl. 2015. ” Kött och mjölk från djur uppfödda på bete och restprodukter – ger det en hållbar kost?”. SLU, Framtidens lantbruk - djur, växter och markanvändning.
INITIATIVE IN SHORT
Grassfed milk is a product from the Danish dairy Thise and originated from Torsten Wetche’s farm Hvanstrup. The cows are fed grass and ley only – no corn, soy or grain. This way milk production is not using feed that could have been suitable for direct human consumption.
IN WHAT WAY A BEST PRACTICE?
Grassfed milk is a good example of how actors from different parts in the food chain – primary producer, dairy and retail – can cooperate to create sustainable dairy products with better animal welfare standards.
In 2017 Danish dairy company Thise, together with Coop Denmark, launched a new product – milk from cows raised exclusively on grass and ley. The milk was brought from the farm Hvanstrup on Jylland and sold in Coop Irma shops for 1,9 euro/litre. The launch got financial support from Coop Denmark's crowdfunding platform where more than 400 individual consumers invested in product development..
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The farm of Torsten Wetches is a good example of new sustainable agricultural practices. By combining smaller, grassfed milk production with organic cultivation of root crops, oats and quinoa for human consumption, the farm is producing enough food to cover the yearly needs of 3500 people, while simultaneously maintaining pastures to the benefit of wildlife dependant on this particular practice. If he would specialise in organic milk production he would have had a larger herd of cows, but only produced the equivalent amount of food to cover the needs of 1200 people.
Researchers in agroecology at Aarhus University are connected to investigate and document the effects of grassfed milk, for example on climate and nutrient balances. The reduced number of livestock together with the grassland’s capacity to sequester carbon dioxide offers potential for a reduced climate impact. In Denmark grassfed milk also comes with higher standards for animal welfare compared with regular organic milk, for example cows and calves are given 40% more space. Milk from grassfed production has a higher content of Omega-3 fatty acids compared with regular milk.
That this initiative has been supported through crowdfunding also shows consumers’ willingness to pay for these added values. Thise is a cooperative dairy with only organic products. The grassfed milk originally came only from Torsten Wetche's farm Hvanstrup in northeastern Jutland and his 120 dairy cows. Since then, the demand for grassfed milk has increased and now two more farms have converted to grassfed milk production. This year, Thise dairy has expanded its range and also market butter, crème fraiche and yoghurt based on grassfed milk.
- Grassfed milk on the website of Thise Dairy (in Danish): read here and here.
- Article about grassfed milk from Aarhus University (in English).
- Research at Aarhus University about grassfed milk (in Danish).
LINK TO EVENT FROM SEPTEMBER 9TH
AN INITIATIVE FROM PROJECT MATLUST'S TRANSNATIONAL COMPONENT
MatLust is an EU project with the purpose of strengthening growth and sustainability within the food industry in the Stockholm region. In MatLust’s transnational component we are looking for best practice and good examples in the Baltic Sea region. Areas of interest are sustainable business models for SME in the food sector, innovative applications of public procurement and Hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) and initiatives for more resilient food systems. Good examples are documented and spread via MatLust's website and events.
Forskningsrelaterade samarbeten, MatLust Utvecklingsnod samt Projektledare, Mineralskiftet Tel: 08-523 064 40 E-post