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More Nutritious Milk from Flaxseed-fed Cows

A new study at Oregon State University (OSU) has shown that dairy cows fed flaxseed produce more nutritious milk, including more omega-3 fatty acids and less saturated fat, than that produced by cows fed a traditional feed mixture of corn, grains, alfalfa hay and grass silage. In the study, ten pregnant cows at OSU’s dairy were fed different amounts of flaxseed. Collaborators in OSU’s food science and technology department then turned the milk produced into butter and fresh cheese, and then tested them for texture and nutritional composition.

A new study at Oregon State University (OSU) has shown that dairy cows fed flaxseed produce more nutritious milk, including more omega-3 fatty acids and less saturated fat, than that produced by cows fed a traditional feed mixture of corn, grains, alfalfa hay and grass silage. In the study, ten pregnant cows at OSU’s dairy were fed different amounts of flaxseed. Collaborators in OSU’s food science and technology department then turned the milk produced into butter and fresh cheese, and then tested them for texture and nutritional composition. When six pounds of flaxseed were fed to the cows per day, cows produced the same amount of milk, but saturated fatty acids in whole milk dropped 18 percent, polyunsaturated fatty acids increased 82 percent, and omega-3 levels rose 70 percent compared to traditional feeding regimes. The cows ate the flaxseed like candy, said Gerd Bobe, an expert in human and animal nutrition and lead scientist in the research published online in the Dec. 7, 2012, edition of Journal of Dairy Science.

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