Author Topic: Organic vs standard milk...  (Read 10241 times)

Organic vs standard milk...
« on: August 30, 2010, 10:45:05 am »
What are the benefits of organic milk, and which milk do you buy normally?  

We normally get organic, but TBH I'm not really sure what advantages there are in using it.  I ask because we're trying Dairy Crests's JugIt system, with the milk in a bag that fits a jug etc.  This seems good because the only plastic waste is a 2pt bag - but I didn't see an organic option for this.
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Manotea

  • Where there is doubt...
Re: Organic vs standard milk... and JugIt.
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2010, 11:00:45 am »
What are the benefits of organic milk, and which milk do you buy normally?  

A good question. Whats the skinny on branded milks such as Cravendale?

Just googled the website. None of the benefits of their manufacturing process claims come across in their advertizing, or maybe I just filtered them out (sic), only hearing they consider their milk 'purer' for some unspecified reason (yawn).

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Organic vs standard milk... and JugIt.
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2010, 11:06:14 am »
Straight from cow to gob.

Well, no, but Mrs Cudzo's family used to get all their milk straight from the cow (er, via a jug or two) when she was little and they had cows. Organic was not a concept then (in this part of the world) and I don't suppose those cows would actually have qualified, call it free range unpasteurised.

To answer the question though, I've always supposed the benefits of organic milk to be lack of pesticide or fertiliser residues in the milk, and better living conditions to the cows.
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

border-rider

Re: Organic vs standard milk... and JugIt.
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2010, 11:07:38 am »
We buy organic because of the animal welfare aspects

I'm unconvinced that there are any significant benefits for the drinker over ordinary milk

Re: Organic vs standard milk... and JugIt.
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2010, 11:27:50 am »
We use organic and what we notice is that the organic semi skimmed is much creamier than your average bog standard semi skimmed.   There is as MV says an element of animal welfare, plus how the pasture and feed is treated.   

We have a local supplier (Lubcloud).   The milk is excellent.


Re: Organic vs standard milk...
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2010, 11:31:12 am »
According to someone I know who works in the dairy industry, most milk is organic anyway.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Organic vs standard milk...
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2010, 11:36:36 am »
That sounds unlikely. Surely most cows are treated with antibiotics etc and fed on artificial feedstuffs in the winter which would not be allowed under organic rules?
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

woollypigs

  • Mr Peli
    • woollypigs
Re: Organic vs standard milk...
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2010, 11:51:09 am »
The organic milk we get is just brill, from Able and Cole. Taste so much better than the organic you get from the supermarket.
#bollockstobrexit

Re: Organic vs standard milk...
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2010, 11:52:30 am »
non-organic cows are treated with antibiotics, treated very heavily to avoid infections in the udders from the heavy rate of milk production year round.

I think your friend is mistaken.
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Re: Organic vs standard milk...
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2010, 12:01:29 pm »
I think it is true that compared to other products the difference between organic and non-organic milk isn't that great. This is because all UK dairy cows are farmed in an 'extensive' system with lots of grass eaten with relatively low stocking densities in the summer. I would think that all of the silage the farmer makes for the winter himself will also tend to be organic anyway. Bought-in pelleted food they would have to make sure was from a source using no pesticides etc.
The main difference would be in the use of antibiotics for the cows themselves. If an individual cow is sick (say with mastitis) then the organic farmer can have her treated with antibiotics, but any whole-herd antibiotics wouldn't be OK. Many farmers have routinely used an antibiotic 'dry cow tube' to stick up each teat at the end of the cow's lactation to try and prevent infections before her next calving when she is out at pasture and not being looked at so closely every day.

That said, I buy organic milk myself, and I do this for only one reason. The farmer gets paid a much better price for his milk. Supermarkets have done immense damage to UK farming by forcing prices so low the farmer can barely break even. Anything that pays the farmer a fair price for his product I see as being a good thing  :)

Re: Organic vs standard milk...
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2010, 12:03:31 pm »
I was in one of my local organic retailers recently.  A local chap came in offering the proprietor some 'organic' potatoes cheap from his allotment.   It transpired that he considered them organic because they'd been planted in a bed of horse shit.   the minor fact of 'growmore' didn't seem to alter his opinion.     :(

  

Julian

  • samoture
Re: Organic vs standard milk...
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2010, 02:42:58 pm »
We buy organic because of the animal welfare aspects

I'm unconvinced that there are any significant benefits for the drinker over ordinary milk

Same here. 

I'm under no delusions that organic milk (or for that matter veg) contains more nutrients, antioxidants, magic cancer cures or whatever this week's chichi claim is.  But it is better for the animals and the environment.

Re: Organic vs standard milk...
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2010, 04:19:42 pm »
I'm very unconvinced about the cow welfare inference of organic. Cow welfare is about a whole load of stuff including group size, spotting health issues, proper use of medication etc etc. Whether the cow eats organic feed or not is not to do with welfare.

When I did such things I've been on organic farms where the welfare of the animals was pretty awful, and some "not organic" farms where the welfare and happiness of the animals was paramount.

That said, in general terms, farmers do not make profits from unhappy animals. Unhappy animals don't grow well, have low fertility and get sick more easily.

Julian

  • samoture
Re: Organic vs standard milk...
« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2010, 04:37:17 pm »
True, but as far as I can tell from a very non-expert perspective, it is easier to do intensive rearing non-organically, so organic milk is less likely to come from intensively raised cows. 

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: Organic vs standard milk...
« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2010, 04:42:13 pm »
Getting there...

andygates

  • Peroxide Viking
Re: Organic vs standard milk...
« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2010, 06:02:38 pm »
Critter welfare reasons here.  Plus vague unscientific edginess about widespread antibiotic use...
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Re: Organic vs standard milk...
« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2010, 11:47:29 pm »
'taint just antibiotics, but hormones too. Used to up the yield of ordinary cows to try to make it profitable in the current circumstances.

Organic every time. OK, so I now have cereals with fruit juice and black tea, but Mrs & Miss ham still use milk.

fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: Organic vs standard milk...
« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2010, 04:38:34 am »
'taint just antibiotics, but hormones too. Used to up the yield of ordinary cows to try to make it profitable in the current circumstances.

Organic every time.
Hormones to boost milk production are illegal and unavailable in the eu.

Semi-skimmed standard milk is skimmed milk with exactly 2% milk fat added back in. Organic semi skimmed from a small bottling plant will be milk that has some of the cream separated off, often by Gravity rather than the mechanical process of larger dairies.
Cravendale Milk is a marketing scam, pretty much all standard milk is homogenised (physically treated by forcing  through a fine filter to make the fat globules smaller and the fat not rise to the surface).
No farmers use antibiotics in feed for dairy cows. Dry cow therapy (feline's description pretty accurate) is not because the cows aren't looked at daily, but because dry cow mastitis is hideous and way worse than in lactating cows. Mechanical milking means the teat sphincter is often damaged and so there is an easy entry route for infection. The mammary tissue should be recovering from the previous lactation but instead is attacked when weakened leading to major damage. I've seen cows with summer dry mastitis which has necrotised the tissue so badly the entire udder has been a collapsing sore, despite treatment. Prevention is better than cure, surely.
Uk dairy production is more intensive than NZ but IME this means the individual animals are treated better. Smaller farms tend to have better animal care than larger, as their livestock become individuals who are known, rather than just a number.
The organic status makes less difference than the individual herdsman's attitude to the cows.

Buy direct from the farm would be my recommendation.

Here endeth the lesson.

Farmer boab, BSc Agric Sci. Aberdeen 1993, Dairy Specialist. Herdsperson 1989-2006
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

Re: Organic vs standard milk...
« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2010, 07:11:29 am »
Genuinely interesting.

However, over and beyond that, there are two other factors you haven't considered. First and most important I just do not trust farmers / retailers whose only motivation is to put food onto the shelves at the lowest possible cost. Second, Cravendale taste like sh1t.


Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Organic vs standard milk...
« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2010, 08:47:13 am »
Yesterday we visited Mrs C's cousin who has a dairy farm. They said they don't use specific dairy breeds, because those tend to be more prone to infection - I didn't understand the details - and that yield depends on how recently the cow has calved, more than breed. They have 16 milk cows and each one has a name. And the family drink the milk straight from milking, no pasteurisation.
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: Organic vs standard milk...
« Reply #20 on: September 06, 2010, 10:24:37 am »
Yesterday we visited Mrs C's cousin who has a dairy farm. They said they don't use specific dairy breeds, because those tend to be more prone to infection - I didn't understand the details - and that yield depends on how recently the cow has calved, more than breed. They have 16 milk cows and each one has a name. And the family drink the milk straight from milking, no pasteurisation.
I've probably said this before, but when I first started milking we would have coffee with milk squirted into it fresh from the cow. Frothy cappucino-esque creamy goodness. I didn't buy milk until I stopped working with cows, the stuff in the shops is like a different product, kind of like the difference between your own eggs and shop eggs, your own potatoes and shop tatties.
The smallest farm I milked at had 120 cows, the largest a New Zealand nightmare of 1100.
Dairy breeds produce more milk, period. But a) the stress on the udder of producing 60+litres a day at peak lactation does mean they are more susceptible to infection and b) focusing solely on production characteristics means they are less long lived as things like their legs, feet, median suspensary ligaments, vulva, uterus give out because of the extreme stress on every part of their bodies.
All cows' production follows a similar curve, peaking about 6-8 weeks post calving. Dairy breeds maintain the high level for longer.

Knowing all this stuff doesn't stop me buying my milk from Asda. Unfortunately this is my area of expertise and no one wants to pay for it, so I can't afford to shop local, for guernsey milk from Bessie and Buttercup.
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Organic vs standard milk...
« Reply #21 on: September 06, 2010, 07:27:55 pm »
Mrs Cudzo and her siblings grew up on milk straight from the cow. The family had I think one cow and two pigs - just for their own consumption, obviously. They still had chickens till a couple of years ago. I used to carry the eggs back, each one wrapped in newspaper within an egg box, the 20 miles from her parents' place in my panniers. Never had one break, luckily! She also says the milk is completely different, but adds that I - not having grown up on it - would probably find it went straight through me!
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

Re: Organic vs standard milk...
« Reply #22 on: September 06, 2010, 10:17:33 pm »

Cravendale Milk is a marketing scam,

Well it didn't work in my case. I was very suspicious, and avoided it as possibly not-quite-milk, until I chanced upon a carton with my reading specs on. Then, having read the blurb, I didn't buy it.

Gandalf

  • Each snowflake in an avalanche pleads not guilty
Re: Organic vs standard milk...
« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2010, 06:47:05 am »
How are organic cows treated differently from non organic ones? Are the calves still taken away from their mothers after a few days?  Do Male calves suffer the same fate?  Just curious.

woollypigs

  • Mr Peli
    • woollypigs
Re: Organic vs standard milk...
« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2010, 09:40:04 am »
This is the blurp that Able & Cole has on their website :

Quote
Berkeley Farm Dairy uses a herd of Guernsey cows, which produce slightly golden, delicious milk - with an occasional top up from their neighbour’s Friesian herd. They run the milking and bottling themselves, and when we order our milk, much of it may not yet be milked - we know we're getting exceptionally fresh milk!

Much mass produced milk is homogenised, meaning the cream is taken out of the milk, broken down into little globules of fat and put back in so it's all a uniform consistency, though it becomes harder to digest. Nick just leaves in the natural cream, so you'll see it rising to the top of the milk in your bottles. Of course he does drain it off the top of his skimmed milk and drains it off half the semi-skimmed milk and it runs off into a little churn.

All our milk is pasteurised.

Our golden milk is produced by Guernsey and Friesian cows in a valley in Wiltshire where they graze wildflower meadows full of the greenest grass. Nick and Christine have spent time learning all about cow psychology, and treating cow illnesses homeopathically; Christine milks their cows at 4.30am and 3.30pm. It takes Christine about 2 hours to get through the whole herd and she always gives them a quick health check - any signs of something wrong and she’ll treat the symptoms with some herbal infusions.

This is a skilful task as she uses many different infusions to treat different symptoms. Christine knows that each cow is different too, and sometimes she might have to choose one remedy for Elizabeth but a different one to treat the same symptoms in Bentley Mountbatten Marmalade. Berkeley Farm Dairy uses plastic bottles, which are much easier to recycle than tetra-paks.

And what can I say it is brilliant :) probably the best tasting milk I have tasted.
#bollockstobrexit