Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

Milking More Value

Research in Hamilton is looking at how the composition of milk can be manipulated on the farm to earn farmers more cash.

The research – funded by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology and the New Zealand Dairy Board – is being conducted by Dexcel, formerly Dairying Research Corporation Ltd.

Dexcel senior scientist and programme leader Norman Thomson says the goal is to create high-value milk on-farm.

“Farmers are paid on fat yield and protein. At the moment, they’re getting about $2 for a kilo of fat and $5 for a kilo of protein. Their costs have gone up, but not their profitability, on the whole. If we can alter the composition of the milk we might end up with less fat but with more protein. There’s only so much milkfat the dairy industry can sell. But we can always sell more protein,” Mr Thompson says.

“Milk contains hundreds of different components, fatty acids, proteins and minerals. We analyse milk for 80 different compounds, some of them we as an industry haven’t thought about before. We’re looking at milk that’s especially suited to making new products that have health and well-being benefits for consumers.”

Researchers are looking at how the cow’s environment can be changed – for example, what it eats, when it’s milked or even how long it is dark for. If there’s a protein or lipid that might help fight cancer or improve well-being, why is it there? Is it in the diet, is it in the genes? So can changes be made to how the cow is managed and can more of it be produced?

Mr Thomson says that until a few years ago no dairy farmers harvested colostrum, the first secretions from mammary glands after giving birth.

“But then research showed that it might help improve athletic performance or that upset tummy, among other things. Now more than 2000 farmers are harvesting it. It’s powdered and sold to many athletes.”

Milk is no longer “just white stuff”, he says. “I read somewhere that milk composition has over 900 parts. Many have possible health benefits, and they’ll boost profitability to the farmer.”

Ends


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

CO2 And Water: Fonterra's Environment Plans

Federated Farmers support Fonterra’s bold push to get to zero emissions of CO2 on the manufacturing side of the Co-operative, both in New Zealand and across its global network. More>>

ALSO:

Fisheries: Decision To Delay Monitoring ‘Fatally Flawed’

Conservation group representatives say a decision by the new Minister of Fisheries, Stuart Nash, to delay implementation of camera monitoring of fishing efforts in New Zealand is ‘fatally flawed’. More>>

ALSO:

Kaikōura Quakes: One Year On

State Highway One and the railway were blocked by damage and slips and the Inland Road suffered significant damage. Farms, homes and businesses suffered building and land damage. Power and internet went down, drinking water systems, sewage systems and local roads were all badly affected... More>>

ALSO: