WHAT IS PASTURE FED?
Seeing a herd of cows grazing in a lush green meadow is a iconic vision of British farming, with the cattle enjoying the open space and eating the fresh grass therein.
Whilst these fields of just grass can provide the cows with all the essential nutrition they need, pastures which are also rich in clovers, herbs, legumes and wildflowers – often perceived as mere weeds – provide a more diverse and, quite frankly, better diet for the animals than grass alone.
Why is it better? Well, these plants, many of which are deep rooted, are also rich in vitamins and minerals which they draw up from the soil below.
These native plant species exist happily alongside the grass, so it’s not a case of choosing ‘one or the other’, they just need the chance to get established and then Mother Nature takes care of the rest.
Compared to grass alone, these plants have much deeper roots extending further into the ground and help add much needed structure and offer support against soil erosion.
We’ve also witnessed first-hand how quickly these diverse plant species also become attractive to a wide range of wildlife, from the dung beetles and insects at ground level, to pollinators and right through the natural food chain to support owls and birds of prey.
GRASS FED OR PASTURE FED?
We are all familiar with meat and dairy products being promoted with ‘grass fed’ as a primary marketing message – and why not, it looks and sounds great especially if, as we say, cows can get the nutrition they need from a grass only diet.
However, the reality is that these herds often need supplementary feed in addition to their natural grass diet and this is often manufactured cereal-based feeds or by-products of other food manufacturing.
The benefit to us humans of eating pasture fed meat and dairy products includes higher levels of Omega-3, lower saturated fat content and higher vitamin and mineral levels compared to grain-fed animals, particularly rich in vitamins A and E, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Here at Park House Farm, our cows eat only a completely natural diet from foraging in our pastures or, during the depths of winter, straw and silage harvested from our fields.
This means that our cheese and butter come with a guarantee our cows have been fed a completely natural diet, hence we are Pasture For Life Certified.
You can find out more about pasture fed farming and further information on the benefits for both us humans, for animals and the soil itself on the Pasture For Life website.
You can also visit this page on the Pasture For Life website which tells you more about the Pasture For Life Standards, which we fully adhere to at Park House Farm.