OMSCo works with their organic dairy farm members to achieve high standards of health and welfare in farming systems based on grazing grass and clover.
Compassion’s Good Dairy Award celebrates companies that are using or committing to using higher welfare dairy systems for cows and calves. The criteria for the award include an active grazing policy and an improvement programme for key welfare indicators for dairy cows; whilst calves must be reared in higher welfare systems with limited transport times.
OMSCo is a cooperative of organic dairy farmers formed in 1994. They now collect from 450 farmers that produce three-quarters of the UK’s organic milk. OMSCo have a long-term supply agreement with Yeo Valley and their milk also goes into supermarkets and independent shops in a wide range of dairy products. Organic farmers follow comprehensive legal and Assurance Scheme standards that are checked by independent inspectors.
Compassion supports the commitment of organic dairy farmers that allow cows to be outside, free to graze organic grass and clover meadows for as much of the year as possible. During the winter, when the pasture stops growing, the cows are kept in covered yards and cubicles with plenty of space to move and comfortable bedding. The majority of the organic cows’ feed is grass and clover – they are not pushed for maximum yield with high levels of concentrate feed, so they live longer, healthier lives.
Calves on OMSCo farms are kept in groups with bedding throughout life to allow social interaction and comfort. They have a good supply of colostrum and are fed whole milk for at least four weeks, to ensure a healthy start to life. Transport times are kept to a minimum and their organic calves are not exported.
Compassion was delighted to award OMSCo with a Good Dairy Award for their commitment to dairy cow welfare and shares the goal of all OMSCo organic dairy farmers: for comfortable, contented and healthy cows.
It is great that Compassion has recognised the work of OMSCo with the Good Dairy Award. It shows that our farmers are doing right by our cows and confirms the value of our work in achieving high standards of cow health and welfare.
Mike Cottrell, OMSCo farmer
Visit the OMSCo website for more information about organic dairy cow welfare.