by Josie Oleson
Graduate Student in Clinical Nutrition
Oregon Health & Science University
As a student of nutrition, I know a lot about what people eat. It wasn’t until I visited a dairy farm that I learned what cows eat and how well they eat while producing the milk and dairy products we love. During my time on the farm, I discovered three ways that cows set a good example for the rest of us during National Nutrition Month and beyond.
#1: Cows have nutritionists
When was the last time you saw a dietitian? Cow nutritionists visit dairy farms regularly and observe the herds, analyze the nutritional quality of their feed, and see how much milk the cows are producing. Using that information, a cow nutritionist can change the components of their feed to make the herd as healthy as possible.
#2: Cows follow tailored diets
Cows get a specific mix of grasses, grains, and byproducts from food processing to support a balanced diet. Cow nutritionists ensure the feed ingredients are in the right amounts for optimal cow health and milk production.
What happens if the cows get off track? Here’s Derrick Josi from Wilsonview Dairy having a talk with his Jersey cows about the importance of following a nutritious diet and not eating empty calories.
#3: Cows eat a lot of fiber
Almond hulls and citrus pulp are some of the byproducts from food production that are added to cow feed. Humans can’t digest these things, yet they are full of fiber and other nutrients. Instead of going to waste, cows can digest them and convert them into nutritious milk.
These are just a few of the ways cows stay at their best thanks to a healthy diet. Dairy farmers and their nutritionists are helping keep their herds healthy, making milk more efficiently, and managing their farms more sustainably.