• The “Grass-Fed” Milk Story: Understanding the Impact of Pasture Feeding on the Composition and Quality of Bovine Milk

      Alothman, Mohammad; Hogan, Sean; Hennessy, Deirdre; Dillon, Pat; Kilcawley, Kieran; O'Donovan, Michael; Tobin, John; Fenelon, Mark; O'Callaghan, Tom; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; et al. (MDPI AG, 2019-08-17)
      Milk is a highly nutritious food that contains an array of macro and micro components, scientifically proven to be beneficial to human health. While the composition of milk is influenced by a variety of factors, such as genetics, health, lactation stage etc., the animal’s diet remains a key mechanism by which its nutrition and processing characteristics can be altered. Pasture feeding has been demonstrated to have a positive impact on the nutrient profile of milk, increasing the content of some beneficial nutrients such as Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, vaccenic acid, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), while reducing the levels of Omega-6 fatty acids and palmitic acid. These resultant alterations to the nutritional profile of “Grass-Fed” milk resonate with consumers that desire healthy, “natural”, and sustainable dairy products. This review provides a comprehensive comparison of the impact that pasture and non-pasture feeding systems have on bovine milk composition from a nutritional and functional (processability) perspective, highlighting factors that will be of interest to dairy farmers, processors, and consumers.
    • Irish research response to dairy quality in an era of change

      O'Brien, Bernadette J.; Beresford, Tom; Cotter, Paul D.; Gleeson, D.; Kelly, A.; Kilcawley, Kieran; Magan, J.; McParland, Sinead; Murphy, E.; O’Callaghan, Tom; et al. (Teagasc, 2022-02-26)
      The Irish dairy sector is recognised for its very significant contribution to the national economic status; it is now worth ∼€5 billion annually and represents the largest food and drink export category, which, in turn, represents one of the four largest manufacturing industries in the country. Given anticipated further growth in global demand for dairy products and the positive attributes and capabilities that Ireland has to meet that demand, in terms of pasture-based production and cost competitiveness, it is incumbent for the sector to attain the highest quality milk and dairy products. The combined collaborative approach between research and industry has ensured significant progress and enabled Ireland to remain at the forefront globally in terms of production of quality milk and dairy products. This paper highlights some specific scientific platforms and technologies currently shaping the industry in this regard and discusses current research activity as well as anticipating key requirements for future progress. While research, and farm and processing plant management have accomplished very significant advances in milk and dairy product quality, some overarching emerging challenges include product substitution and sustainability. Some key pillars for the future have been identified on which a strong, efficient dairy sector can be maintained and progressed. Specifically, the use of evidence-based information and real-time measures in prediction and decision-making will be a crucial pillar for the dairy sector of the future. This can promote an approach of proactive maintenance and optimisation of production through improved predictability and control of manufacturing processes.