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Institute of

OF Organic Farming


Increasing goat's milk quality by reducing concentrate feeding

© Thünen-Institut/OL

Roughage based feeding strategy for organic dairy goats to increase wholesome milk components for human nutrition

Goats select most valuable feed components from roughage and pasture to optimize their feed ration. Goats are able to adopt different feeding materials. Due to their ability to browse bushes and trees goats are often used in landscape perservation. The adavantage of theri digestion and capabilty to utilize roughage as good as possible predestines them for feeding minimum concentrates. It has to be discussed which feeding strategies are most likely to increase essential fatty acids, Vitamin E and antioxidants in goat's milk.

Background and Objective

Objective of the project is an application of a pasture-based feeding system to increase the contents of essential fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), vitamin E, xanthophylls and antioxidants in goat's milk and cheese.


The concentrate ratio will be as low as possible to maximise roughage intake from pasture and hay. Goats as intermediate ruminants (IM) are predestined to select the best diet. Chemical analysis of the nutritionally beneficial components will be carried out by GC and HPLC procedures at MRI.


In a preliminary study we evaluated effects of a low concentrate diet of maximum 10 % of the total annual dry matter intake per dairy goat (KF10) compared to a 40 % diet (KF40). As was expected, milk yield of KF10-group was lower, but fatty acid composition was more valuable using less concentrates. Omega-3 fatty acid and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) were found to be significantly higher in the milk of the KF10 dairy goat group throughout the whole lactation.

Involved external Thünen-Partners


11.2012 - 10.2015

More Information

Project status: finished


  1. 0

    Sporkmann KH, Ude G, Bender S, Georg H, Rahmann G (2013) Feed less Food - Minimaler Kraftfuttereinsatz verbessert die Fettsäuremuster bei ökologisch gehaltenen Milchziegen. In: Neuhoff D, Stumm C, Ziegler S, Rahmann G, Hamm U, Köpke U (eds) Beiträge zur 12. Wissenschaftstagung Ökologischer Landbau : Ideal und Wirklichkeit: Perspektiven ökologischer Landbewirtschaftung . Berlin: Köster, pp 548-551

  2. 1

    Georg H, Sporkmann KH, Bender S, Ude G, Rahmann G (2012) "Feed less Food" - Effect of a low concentrate diet on milk quality, milk fatty acid composition and performance of dairy goats. In: Proceedings of the 1st Asia Dairy Goat Conference, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 9-12 April 2012. Kuala Lumpur, pp 146-148

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