Organic Milk... What makes it so special?

Posted in: Marphona Farm | 28 Aug 2018

Go back 30 years & mention the word organic & chances are that some of the first thoughts were around an earth hugging, descendent of the 60’s hippy movement smoking interesting cigarettes with grass in their hair. Organic was a buzz word for people that were looking to do things outside of the conventional.  It was a nice idea but the typical Queen St dweller doubted it would ever catch on.

Fast forward to 2018 & today the word Organic is much more than that. It is still true that it relates to people wanting to do things a little differently from the rest, but it is much more than a buzz word – it is a conscious way of life for more & more people around the world with once again New Zealand leading the way.   Processed & preservatives are dirty words that have a much smaller place in the weekly shopping trolley & every day mums & dads are making decisions around how they feed their families in the most natural way possible. 

But what does Organic mean – do we as consumers truly understand what goes into making that Organic bottle of milk they pick up at the shop & why is it that sometimes I simply can’t buy it?

Organic farming is a commitment based on defined practices & key principals that not only creates but maintains healthy soil, crops & livestock in a sustainable manner.   It takes time, to be organic certified takes a farm a minimum of 3 years so it is not something that can happen overnight.

Organic practices prohibit the use of antibiotics, synthetic hormones or any GMO feed. The Organic farm must be certified by a nationally recognised organisation confirming they have met very strict guidelines that are constantly checked throughout the year.   These standards mean the consumer can have confidence that they know what they are consuming. 

Milk is produced from an animal when they lactate. A cow has the same pregnancy period as we do – 9 months.  They are usually milked twice a day for 10 months of the year before having a rest during the ‘dried off’ period.

Organic cows must have access to pasture – grass is a cow’s natural diet. To produce the best possible milk – the grass the cow has fed from must be full of nutrients.  Created by healthy sustainable farming practices with the help of Mother Nature in the form of rain & sun in just the right amounts.

Too much rain – the grass does not grow. Too much sun or wind & you get the same result.  The cow may produce less milk resulting in a reduction in milking down to once a day.  Milking a cow more than that during that period can be a recipe for health problems the following season. 

This is a problem for us as consumers – there is simply less Organic milk available.

Most farmers in NZ have historically planned their calving periods for July & August to take advantage of spring grass growth when the return of the sun means we see lush grass growth with October or November being the best of the year in terms of milk supply.

 

 

 

 

 

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