Millennials are changing the food landscape, and a move towards polled animals and A2 milk would be wise for New Zealand dairy, an American vet says.
American veterinarian Dr Paul Dettloff was in Gore last week to help understand animal health from the soil up. He has spent the last 20 years of his 40-year plus career educating within biological/organic dairy farming setting in the United States.
Dettloff said farming was changing in America because of the way millennials were buying their food. They were no longer just going for the cheapest options, but looking at what has gone into producing it and the way in which it was produced.
“We have all these childhood diseases that we never had, and folks that’s all coming out of the food.
“Our millennials are recognising it, the millennials with the computer are going to change the food buying in America.”
Millennials were making more ethically-based decisions. As Dettloff said, they want to know the products they were buying came from people who treated their cows “nice” – that meant they wanted no tails cut off and the cows not to be de-horned.
“People think de-horning is absolutely brutal. Go for polled animals.
“New Zealand listen to me, if in 10 years you can sell milk to the world that came from polled animals that were A2/A2 you would wipe out the competition.”
A2 milk is free of A1 beta-casein, which when broken down in the body, creates a protein fragment called ‘beta-casomorphin-7’ (BCM7), because of the presence of the Histidine amino acid. BCM7 is thought to lead to a number of human ailments. It has, for example, been linked to Type 1 diabetes, heart disease, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and autism.
In the US, Mycoplasma bovis has spread throughout the country. However, Dettloff has seen herds which don’t have the disease, despite being surrounded by infected properties.
The reason was those animals didn’t have the same suppressed immunity of the wider herds, he said.
Cases of Mycoplasma bovis were more common in the US at peak lactation, and Dettloff said the disease was caused by acidosis, stemming from the use of too much urea on pastures.
Rumen acidosis is a metabolic disease of cattle which occurs when the pH of the rumen falls to less than 5.5 from a normal range of between 6.5 to 7.0.
Dettloff said farmers could avoid Mycoplasma bovis by guarding against acidosis and treating cows which were suffering from it.