US dairy farmers moving away from hormones

Bovine somatotopin is a peptide hormone produced by cows’ pituitary glands. It is produced in small quantities and is used in regulating the metabolic process. During the 1970s, pharmaceutical companies discovered and patented expertise to synthesise the hormone using recombinant DNA technology to create recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST).

Joan Behr, director of communications for Foremost Farms USA, has said it will be rBST-free by 1 June as “the market is requesting it”.

Land O’Lakes will be rBST-free by year end, because a number of customers who purchase ingredients from it plan to become rBST-free before 1 January 2018.

Customer requests

Requests from cheese customers was the reason given by Associated Milk Producers and First District Association in Minnesota for cutting out rBST by year end.

Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), the largest co-op in the US, has not yet cut out rBST. It said: “We are working with our customers to supply their evolving needs.”

Elanco Animal Health, which market rBST, has a different view. It said: “The consequences of these actions have a direct impact on the sustainability of dairy farms. Research shows that rBST helps cows produce more milk – about a gallon (3.7 litres) more per cow per day – which means farmers can produce the same amount of milk with six cows instead of seven. The use of rBST also reduces the carbon footprint of a gallon of milk by 9%. The collective of this increased productivity each year in the US alone saves 95.6m gallons of water, reduces land needed for dairy farms by 1,023 square miles, and eliminates 2.9m tonnes of greenhouse gases.

The use of rBST has been banned in the EU since 1999.


Source: Irish Farmers Journal


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