Supplementing the Organic Dairy Herd Diet with Flaxseed

Organic Agriculture May 16, 2016 Print Friendly and PDF

This webinar took place on March 12, 2016.

About the Webinar

Flaxseed is an oilseed rich in fat, making it an excellent energy source for livestock. Flaxseed can be fed as a supplement to pasture to boost omega-3 fatty acids in milk. This also affects the dairy cow’s health, reproductive fertility, and methane (a potent greenhouse gas) emissions.

Funded by a grant from the USDA Organic Research and Extension Initiative, a multi-state project has been exploring how organic dairy farmers in the Northeast can enhance farm profitability by extending the grazing season and adding value to milk through feed supplementation. In this webinar, Drs. Andre Brito and Heather Darby describe some results of the study.

Dr. Darby will start the webinar by sharing results of field trials she’s conducted in northern Vermont looking at the performance of flax varieties, planting dates, and weed management. Dr. Brito will then describe his work on feeding flaxseed to organic dairy cows.

About the Presenters

Dr. Andre Brito is an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of New Hampshire, focusing on dairy organic management. He currently leads the USDA OREI project, "Assisting Organic Dairy Producers to Meet the Demands of New and Emerging Milk Markets" which is funding the projects he will discuss.

Dr. Heather Darby is an associate professor of agronomy at the University of Vermont Extension, where she conducts applied research and farmer outreach programs on farm-based fuel, cover crops and soil health, nutrient management, organic livestock forages, and grain production systems in the Northeast.


This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.