Irish Dairy Farming
As we all know by now natural products are becoming a huge talking point. In this blog I will be discussing the health benefits of grass-fed Irish dairy products. In Ireland our dairy cows pasture graze for 300 days per year (Weather Permitting). Cahill’s Cheese is located in the Golden Vale, a rich dairy farming area in South West Munster. This area of land is of very high quality which allows for large dairy herds. The Golden Vale is known for its ability to grow extremally high quality and high grass yields. Farmers in this area are producing top quality milk and very large yields every year. This top quality milk is used in Irelands most popular dairy products that can be found all over the world.
Indoor feeding a popular method in Europe is a less common practice in Ireland. There are a certain amount of farmers who zero-graze. Zero-grazing is when all animals are kept indoors for the majority of the year. The farmer brings in fresh grass daily to the cows by using a zero-grazer. The main reason for using this in Ireland is because the farmer may not have enough land on his own farm and may be bringing grass in from an outside farm. This method is very popular in Europe where cows are a lot more use to this.
Due to our climate (Warm Temperate Oceanic) Ireland is brilliant for growing top quality grass. We get a lot of rain all year round but our summers are quite humid which is the ideal climate for growing grass. This allows dairy farmers to carry out a practice known as rotational grazing. Farmers divide large fields into paddocks. The farmer then gives his herd a new paddock everyday to graze.
Research has found that dairy cows grazing on a pasture based system had significantly higher fat and protein content (Casein and Whey). This provides huge benefits to us cheese makers as increased protein and fat improves cheese making properties and the quality of the cheese.
Cows belong outside grazing on fresh palatable grass. I know this is not possible in every region but in Ireland due to our climate we can achieve this for long periods. Our Warm Temperate Oceanic climate has the ability to grow high yields and top quality grass. Our cows tend to be much happier, healthier and stress free. This allows Irish farmers to have Irish cows reaching their top potential producing the best quality milk possible full of nutrients. Cows that have constant access to fresh grass is better for the environment. The cows manure helps replenish the soil, which then reduces water pollution and erosion.
Grass-fed dairy products has a large increase in specific vitamin levels. Research has found that cows producing grass-fed milk produce higher levels of vitamin B2, B7 AND E. These key vitamins can be hard to obtain in your diet. They tend to play a vital role in keeping our bodies functioning efficiently. Vitamin E plays a huge role in preventing heart disease and obesity.
Grass-fed milk also contains Omega-3 an essential fatty acid needed by humans for better brain and eye health. Our bodies are unable to produce these key nutrients so we need to consume grass-fed dairy to promote this. Omega-3 is also brilliant for promoting growth and strong bones in young children. Omega-3s have been shown to help reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), neurological disorders, inflammatory conditions and more, and antioxidants are potent free radical scavengers that can help us stave off many forms of cancer.
Grass-Fed Cheese Tastes Better
Grass-Fed cheese tends be of much higher quality of corn fed cows. The cows milk is of a much higher quality. The cows milk is very high in protein and fat. This makes it easier to make high quality cheese. Grass-fed cheese you should be able to taste the milk and other unique flavours. Depending on the cheese the flavour tends to be sharp, creamy and slightly crumbly. Cahill’s Vintage cheddar is our best example of this. The cheese has quite a crumbly texture and has a beautiful creaminess taste. It has the perfect balance of strong, savoury flavours without being too overpowering.