Sustainable Dairy Farming
Riverside Milk is fully committed to a sustainable dairy farming model. We do not only want to produce wholesome, raw milk from healthy (& happy)100% grass fed cows, but we want to also employ animal friendly, regenerative farming practices in order to get there.
Our approach to dairy farming emphasises a holistic model of sustainable farming that works alongside nature, rather than opposed to it. We believe that everything we do is interconnected and that in order to make our work more sustainable, we need to look at all aspects of what it encompasses: animal husbandry, soil vitality, water quality, waste management and so much more.
The questions we ask ourselves are manifold: How can we reduce our farm's footprint, encourage soil regeneration and biodiversity? How do we avoid leaching and reduce our contribution to environmental pollution? How will we provide the best care for our animals while also offering milk that is affordable (financially sustainable), safe to drink and healthy?
Answers to these questions are based in strategies and methods that distinguish us from other milk suppliers:
- Unlike conventional dairy farms which have nearly four cows per hectare we only hold 2 cows per hectare. This reduces the environmental impact, giving the pastures and soil biology the resilience to rejuvenate and regenerate much more easily.
- Out of our herd of over 130 milking cows, we have a summer and a winter herd so that the cows can have time off and plenty of rest from milking.
- We do not engage in the common but cruel practice of selling bobby calves (male calves) to slaughter houses (because they are considered waste).
- Believing that the main path to good cow (and milk) health is through a natural grass fed diet, our cows are shifted to new pastures daily and only eat fresh nutrient dense grass supplemented with silage/baleage or hay (all grown on our own farm).
- Our paddocks are not irrigated, meaning we do not waste precious resources and we are able to reduce the likely-hood of leaching and groundwater contamination.
- We are also minimising nitrates and phosphates leaching into the waterways by continuing to establish indigenous, riparian plantings while also experimenting with new methods (Biochar, EM)
- Following regenerative organic principles, we rely on the plants and soil organisms to generate organic matter and release the nutrients necessary for grass growth. We only apply liquid fish fertiliser and compost tees to feed the soil life - no synthetic fertilisers.
- Converting to regenerative farming, we are increasing diversity in our pastures by over-sowing (no tillage) seed mixes containing up to 20 different grass species. We aim to create highly varied herbage swards with many health promoting medicinal herbs and bee forage plants (and to keep bees).
- Soil vitality is promoted with biological methods including inoculating seed with symbiotic mycorrhizal cultures prior to seeding. We are not only growing grass but also soil.
- As registered raw milk suppliers, we follow strict food hygiene guidelines and are regularly assessed by independent food quality control verifier Assure Quality against the Ministry of Primary Industries Raw Milk Regulations.
- We perform daily testing of our milk to ensure strict quality control measures are met. This is backed up by laboratory testing to ensure that our milk is always of highest standard for our consumers.
- We have adopted a breeding program that selects not only for disease resistance and milk production but also for the superior quality of our A2 milk (our goal is to have a 100% A2 herd). At present we have over 60% A2 Cows.
- All our milk is daily fresh as opposed to the processed product sold as milk in supermarkets. After milking, the milk is cooled at the dairy before being brought to the vending machine 500 metres from the dairy.
- There are no hidden middle-men, carbon emissions or inexplicable transport costs other than you getting the milk straight from us - at the vending machine. It's simple and supports local.
- We encourage reuse of bottles at our vending machine and sell sturdy glass bottles at the Riverside Café and at the Riverside office. Riverside Milk means less waste going to landfill and buying from people you know....
Apart from following an awesome many-dimensional model of sustainable and regenerative dairy farming, Riverside Milk also provides for some exceptionally tasty, creamy and wholesome milk for only $2.50 a litre and is available 24/7 in Lower Moutere.