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Thread: Grassfed Butter? What do you think?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Virginia and Hawaii

    Grassfed Butter? What do you think?

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    A local market in my area sells Amish Roll Butter from Minerva Dairy in Ohio. I went on the Minerva website and tried to find out about what they are feeding their cows. Turns out they get their milk from many different farmers, and they visit each farm individually to vet the owners and operations. Here is an excerpt from their "farmer spotlight" in which the farmers describe the cows' diets. Can anyone tell me what it means when they say they feed their cattle a "rumen-friendly" diet? I'm just not that well versed in the lore of dairy farming. Thanks in advance!

    From On a recent visit to the farm of Brad and Brian Baker, Mueller and his daughter, Venae Banner, sales manager for Minerva Cheese Factory, stood in the milking barn discussing the percentage of heifer calves the Bakers' herd is producing, the diet the cows are fed, and the pros and cons of different breeds. The Bakers have been a cheese-factory supplier since July 2003. They started milking in 1996 with eight cows, and currently milk 60 to 70 Holsteins and Guernseys. The two young men farm more than 350 acres in two counties and four townships, growing soybeans, corn, wheat, hay and oats, which includes all the feed for their cattle and some grain to sell, as well. The Bakers said they feed their cattle a "rumen-friendly" diet, weighted toward forage. Their herd produces an average of 55 pounds of milk per head per day, with approximately 4.2 percent butterfat, which they noted is high for Holsteins. Guernseys, however, are known for giving rich milk, high in butterfat. The milk's high butterfat content, which the Bakers attribute to the "healthy ration" the cattle receive, makes the milk ideal for cheese making. Minerva Cheese Factory looks for suppliers with high fat and protein levels in their milk, as high percentages of these components result in the production of more cheese. Suppliers are paid based on the levels of fat and protein in their milk.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    I was intrigued by your question. The best answer I could find is on a Bible oriented web site.

    No need to go there, because the summation of the cow's digestive system ended with the followingfrom the above reference)

    The digestive system of the cow is designed to handle large amounts of forages. They do not do well on all-grain or high-fat diets. One article states, ‘cattle evolved digesting roughages that ferment slowly in the rumen’ and that ‘high grain diets … disrupt the normal microbial environment which precipitates acidosis.’

    So I imagine that a rumen friendly diet is one of 'large amounts of forages'.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    The original quote says "weighted towards forage" Which I guess would mean they are pastured as much as possible. Since ruminants are NOT meant to eat grains, my guess is a rumen friendly diet would mean hay or other grasses when the animals are unable to forage.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    SF Bay Area
    Maybe you can find at your retail grocer Kerrygold Pure Irish butter. It's from cows which eat only grass, never any grains.
    Last edited by Moochy; 10-11-2010 at 09:05 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    SE Pennsylvania
    The rumen of the cow is the part of the digestive system where the friendly bacteria digest/ferment the extensive cellulose of the grass. The cows then digest the bacteria along with the nutrients in the feed. When the cow is fed grain, it upsets the natural ph balance of the rumen, allowing dangerous bacteria to grow (and in some cases outnumber) the friendly bacteria. When the rumen is fed food other than natural forage materials, it creates a breeding ground for disease (thus abx is fed to the grain fed cows to keep the bad bacteria at bay...)
    Down almost 40 lbs. 70 to go.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Regular butter vs. butter from grass fed cows

    Green grasses are rich in precursors of vitamin E. Cows grazing on GREEN Pastures consume grasses that are rich in precursors of Vitamins A and E. Vitamin A and E are a fat soluble vitamins and stays with fat portion of the milk. Using milk from cows grazing in lush GREEN pastures gives butter oil that is naturally rich in VITAMINS A and E, anti-oxidants, Omega-3 fatty acids and Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). The CLA is a healthy fat.

    Why is Grass-fed Butter Oil of deep yellow color?
    Grass-fed Butter Oil is made from the milk of cows which are fed only grass. The green grasses are rich in precursors of Vitamins A . The yellow color is due to the high level of Beta-carotene (a precursor of Vitamin A) present in the Grass-Fed Butter Oil

    See the image below:

    More Antioxidants in milk from grass fed cows
    Milk from cows grazing on pasture and fed no or little grain had significantly higher concentrations of nutritionally desirable FAs and antioxidants conjugated linoleic (60% and 99%, respectively) and -linolenic (39% and 31%, respectively) acids, -tocopherol (33% and 50%, respectively) and carotenoids (33% and 80%, respectively) compared with milk from cows fed preserved forages and high grain diets. Full story:

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    metro Portland
    A picture really does speak a thousand words, doesn't it?

    Excellent inaugural post, trd. Welcome to the site.
    "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Thumbs up Milk of pasture-grazed cows, might offset the adverse effect of the saturated fat

    Conclusion: 9c,11t-CLA, which is present in meaningful amounts in the milk of pasture-grazed cows, might offset the adverse effect of the saturated fat content of dairy products.

    Conjugated linoleic acid in adipose tissue and risk of myocardial infarction
    Liesbeth A Smit, Ana Baylin and Hannia Campos. Am J Clin Nutr (May 12, 2010). doi:10.3945/ajcn.2010.29524; American Society for Clinical Nutrition
    Background: Despite the high saturated fat content of dairy products, no clear association between dairy product intake and risk of myocardial infarction (MI) has been observed. Dairy products are the main source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA; 18:2n–7t), which is produced by the ruminal biohydrogenation of grasses eaten by cows. Pasture-grazing dairy cows have more CLA in their milk than do grain-fed cows. Some animal models have reported beneficial effects of CLA on atherosclerosis.
    Objective: The objective was to determine the association between the 9c,11t-CLA isomer in adipose tissue and risk of MI.
    Design: The studied population consisted of 1813 incident cases of a first nonfatal acute MI and 1813 population-based controls matched for age, sex, and area of residence. All subjects lived in Costa Rica—a country that uses traditional pasture-grazing for dairy cows. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate multivariate odds ratios and 95% CIs.
    Results: Adipose tissue 9c,11t-CLA was associated with a lower risk of MI in basic and multivariate models. Compared with the lowest quintile, odds ratios and 95% CIs were 0.80 (0.61, 1.04) for the second, 0.86 (0.64, 1.14) for the third, 0.62 (0.46, 0.84) for the fourth, and 0.51 (0.36, 0.71) for the fifth quintiles (P for trend <0.0001). Dairy intake was not associated with risk of MI, despite a strong risk associated with saturated fat intake.


  9. #9
    My grocery started selling an Amish Roll Butter also, but from a different vendor than the one mentioned about. I actually e-mailed them and they said "We purchase cream to make butter and not milk directly from farms so are some what removed from the day to day farm operations and we do not produce organic butter. We are located in Wisconsin where farms have a tendency to be smaller and cows are on pasture and we also buy cream from the plants that have large number of Amish farmers in Wisconsin and Ohio.


    I do know that the butter is quite light compared to Kerrigold. I was hoping it would be as good since Kerrigold is VERY spendy here.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by betty74 View Post
    We are located in Wisconsin where farms have a tendency to be smaller and cows are on pasture and we also buy cream from the plants that have large number of Amish farmers in Wisconsin and Ohio.
    Unfortunate there are plenty of factory farms in Wisconsin and many of the smaller family farms pasture some, but supplement very heavily with grains. I was born and raised there (in a farming family) and sought out grass fed butter from specific farms.

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