BioDiverseMilk is a research project by the associate applied research group Safety in the food chain

What is happening?

Many dairy farmers want to use grassland herbs to benefit more biodiversity and nature-inclusive agriculture. In addition to positive effects on biodiversity, the use of herbs offers opportunities to make a positive contribution to animal health, emission reduction and soil quality through bioactive substances present in herbs. The application of herbs in pastures and rations can also affect the composition and quality of milk by allowing bioactive compounds and/or their metabolites to reach the milk. There is already a lot of knowledge about how herbs work, but there is insufficient quantitative and integral knowledge to make the most of herbs’ numerous positive properties to benefit soil, animals, emission reduction and milk quality. As a result, the use of herbs is currently difficult to value economically.

What is the project doing about it?

In this research, existing and new knowledge about herbs and the utilisation of bioactive components is collected and disseminated. Under controlled conditions and in practice at dairy farms, effects of the use of herbs on emissions of methane and nitrogen, and milk quality are investigated. Based on this information, dairy farmers will gain knowledge so they can use herbs in a targeted manner.

What does the project deliver?

An herb guide is being developed to provide dairy farmers and other interested parties with information on the properties and effects of agri-functional herbs, as well as existing and newly developed knowledge is being disseminated through workshops, lectures and fact sheets. The results provide dairy farmers with tools to start applying functional herbs in a targeted way on their farms and to add economic value to their use.

Associate professor
Dr. Marije Strikwold ERT

Project duration
2021 – 2024

Core team
HVHL, FrieslandCampina, Limagrain, WUR

Other partners 
Erve Mentink, Rabobank, Hoogland BV, Studiegroep Dier en Kruid, Stichting Living Lab Natuurinclusieve landbouw, Stichting Platform Natuurlijke Veehouderij