Are Grass-Fed cows really better for the planet? The grass-fed movement is based on a large idea, known as regenerative agriculture or holistic management.
So, what is regenerative agriculture? Regenerative agriculture is a holistic way of farming that takes into account the whole farm ecosystem. It aims to improve soil health, increase biodiversity, and sequester carbon. These goals are interconnected – healthy soil can hold more moisture and carbon, while increased biodiversity helps to create a more resilient system.
Grass-fed cattle farming is one component of regenerative agriculture, and it has many benefits. For one, regenerative grazing helps to build healthy soil. Compared to feedlots, where cows are fed corn and other grains, grazing helps to cycle nutrients back into the soil.
Cows that are allowed to graze on grasses and other plants will trample them down, which helps to pack the soil and create a seed bed. The cows’ manure is a valuable source of organic matter which helps to fertilise the soil. As the soil becomes healthier, it can hold more moisture and beneficial elements. This, in turn, helps to support the growth of grasses and other plants, which the cows can then feed on.
Our current model in farming is an extractive one that has left our environment in a state of degradation — eroded soil, polluted water. We have to change the entire paradigm to use natural ecological processes to gather nutrients and build the soil.
Grass-fed is also more humane to cows, as they are allowed to roam and graze freely. In feedlots, cows are often crammed into tight spaces and can hardly move. This can lead to health problems, as well as stress and anxiety.
There is a lot of talk these days about the Grass-fed vs Grain-fed debate in the beef and dairy industry, and rightly so. Grass-fed beef and dairy is not only more humane, but it also provides a high-quality, nutrient-rich product.
From a health perspective, grass-fed cows produce milk with a higher protein content than cows that are fed a grain diet. Hence its growing popularity in the health supplement, sports supplements and snack bar industry because of its high quality and nutrient density. Grass-fed is also considered healthier than grain-fed beef, as it has lower levels of unhealthy fats and higher levels of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for heart health, while CLA has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer.
In contrast, GMOs are also a concern with feedlot beef. Most of the corn and soy that is fed to cows in feedlots is genetically modified, and these crops have been linked to a number of health problems.
All of these benefits make grass-fed beef and dairy a more ethical and sustainable choice. Grazing helps to keep our planet healthy, and supports the livelihoods of farmers who care for their animals and their land. When we choose grass-fed beef and dairy, we are voting for a better world.
Australian Natural Protein Company is proud that our whey comes from 100% healthy and well cared for Australian free range, grass-fed dairy cattle. Our suppliers have a zero tolerance policy for any act of animal cruelty and the farms are routinely audited to ensure they are complying with excellent animal care standards.
The dairy cows graze on the lush pastures of the south-western coast of Victoria. Being certified pasture-fed, means that for at least 70% of any year the cows diet consists of only the naturally occurring grass in the field in which they live. Outside of this, at times of the year when grass does not flourish, they are fed green vegetation (known as silage). In rare and extreme conditions such as drought, the cows will be fed Australian grains as a means of preservation.