Episode 14 – Cows grazing on a salad bar create healthier milk

In Podcasts3 MinutesApril 19, 2024

Early indications that if cows get to choose what they eat it may result in milk that contains higher levels of nutrients for its human consumers. 

As part of a Lincoln University research trial, cows fed a range of specific pasture species in strips are producing milk that has higher levels of compounds such as vitamins E and B.

This episode Anne Lee sits down in the studio for an in-depth interview with the researchers.

Guests include:

  1. Pablo Gregorini, Lincoln University Professor
  2. Dr Anita Fleming, Ashley Dene Development Farm


  1. Sheryl Haitana, Editor, Dairy Exporter
  2. Anne Lee, Deputy Editor, Dairy Exporter

Lincoln University’s Professor Pablo Gregorini and Dr Anita Fleming are leading a major study at the University’s Ashley Dene Development Farm that’s not only investigating the impacts of diverse pasture species on animal health – it’s taking the study right through to look at effects on human health too as well as the wellbeing of soils, ecosystems, farm staff and communities.

“We’ve selected plants that meet cow needs in terms of drymatter throughout the season but alongside that has been a selection criterion related to the metabolites we know some plants can provide. Over time, as we learn more, we may change those mixes,” Anita says. 

Paddocks at the Integral Health Farm have been redesigned to include Tuna (Māori for eel) shaped belts of trees, shrubs and herbal layers that run through diverse pasture species sown in distinct strips.

The pasture strips involve three specific mixes:

Strip one. Ryegrass and white clover, proven to grow well through spring and autumn.

Strip two. Tall fescue and meadow fescue, known to be palatable, but also deep rooting to help cope with drier summer conditions. The fescues are mixed with red, white and annual clover along with lucerne and chicory.

Strip three. Chicory and crimson clover – sown in a narrower strip.

The chicory and crimson clover make up the “medicinal superfood” strip while the species included in strip two are all plants identified in previous studies to contain compounds that can positively impact metabolic processes in animals, she says.

To see the pictures of the Integral Health Dairy Farm, get a copy of Dairy Exporter Winter 2024 or read the online article.


Autumn 2024 Pasture Summit

– Bay of Plenty Event: Wednesday, 1 May 2024 hosted by Jordyn Crouch & Isaac Algar in Atiamuri.

– Southland Event: Wednesday, 8 May 2024 hosted by Sam & Jenna Hodsell in Taramoa.

View the programme and register: https://www.pasturesummit.co.nz/