Butter nostalgia?

Reply Sat 7 Jun, 2014 11:35 pm
Lynne Rossetto Kasper: Why don't you like our Holsteins?

Jérôme Chateau: I do like your Holsteins, but I also like the farmland and your farmers. I think over the past several decades things have changed and the dairy economy has reached another stage. Right now there are really two tracks in a very intensive mode of production. The needs are different for each segment, and the Holstein is not necessarily the best-adapted to either.

The selection of the Holstein has been really, really intense over the past 50 years thanks to artificial insemination among other things. That very nice cow has been made into a very tall, skinny, narrow and fairly weak animal with very high production. It is very well-adapted to a high-grain diet and intensive operations, but it has lots of problems, even in those operations that are less intensive as well. That's the problem.
LRK: They have been developed to give us a maximum amount of milk. But what are you saying, that they have problems with their health or the quality of the milk?

JC: Especially with their health, utility and longevity. Today a Holstein barely makes it to 4 years on average -- barely two calves, not even two lactations. The turnover is very high and it has very little longevity. With lots of metabolic diseases and a very weak fragility, it's very hard to get those Holsteins bred back. The production has reached a stratospheric level -- the Holstein has very few components so its milk is not particularly rich. All those elements make the breed fairly unsustainable.

LRK: You have Normande cows and you offer those cows for breeding in the U.S. What are the qualities of the Normande cow?

JC: The Normande, unlike the Holstein, has not been selected as intensely on milk production only, on quantity only. It has been selected for a variety of traits that include muscularity, body condition, and the components and the quality of the milk. For those reasons -- and because it has retained its original qualities and is a more balanced type of cow that doesn't look as skinny as the Holstein -- it is more adapted to grass-based systems.


So what he is saying is that European Holsteins are better than American, and that the American ones have changed a great deal at the hands of the genetic engineers over the last 50 years.
Reply Sat 7 Jun, 2014 11:42 pm
This seals the deal for me....Tillamook uses only 60% Holsteins.

0 Replies
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2014 02:44 am
The average American dairy cow produces more than 20,000 pounds of milk every year. Most of these cattle are Holsteins, a breed whose naturally high milk yield has been enhanced by decades of selective breeding. The U.S. dairy industry intensified selective-breeding efforts in the 1960s. Since then, the average milk yield in Holsteins has doubled, but there has also been a substantial reduction in fertility.
Recent research by scientists at the Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) Animal and Natural Resources Institute (ANRI) in Beltsville, Maryland, and the University of Minnesota (UM) suggests there may be a genetic connection between increased milk yields and reduced fertility. Since the 1960s, UM scientists have maintained a herd of cattle that were never exposed to the selective-breeding practices used by the U.S. dairy industry. As a result, their genomes represent a snapshot of a time before dairy cattle selection efforts intensified.

Scientists in ANRI’s Bovine Functional Genomics Laboratory and Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory teamed up with UM colleagues under the leadership of UM geneticist Yang Da to compare the genomes of modern Holsteins with those of the UM cattle. While scientists have significantly improved their understanding of animal genetics over the past 250 years, questions about how long-term breeding influences genome structure are still largely unanswered.

Fortunately, improvements in storage, preservation, and shipping technology make it easier to maintain and transport genetic material today than at any other time in history – and that makes comparative studies involving historic DNA more practical than ever.

The investigation involved about 50,000 genetic markers known as “single nucleotide polymorphisms,” or SNPs (pronounced “snips”), drawn from about 2,000 cattle. ANRI geneticist John Cole coordinated collection of Holstein DNA samples from the ARS National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation (NCGRP), the U.S. Holstein Association and five U.S. universities, including UM.

Genome analysis
Under the leadership of ANRI geneticist Tad Sonstegard, the scientists extracted DNA and genotyped the samples with an Illumina Bovine SNP50 BeadChip, a genetic analysis tool developed by Sonstegard and ANRI geneticist Curt Van Tassell in collaboration with industry, university and other ARS partners. The BeadChip is a glass slide capable of generating genetic information that can assist scientists in comparative genetic studies. Each BeadChip is designed to characterize 12 different samples, and each sample is analyzed at more than 50,000 SNP marker locations, referred to as “loci.”

The scientists decode all the SNP marker information to determine the specific allele combinations at each locus for every sample. In this case, an “allele” represents one of the two detectable forms of a gene. DNA information gleaned from the BeadChip allows scientists to determine which allele was inherited from the mother and which was inherited from the father. An animal can receive the same allele type from both parents or a different allele from each parent. Differences in alleles can result in different characteristics.

“A decade ago, this kind of genotyping work was much more expensive and time-consuming,” Van Tassell says. “The BeadChip makes it possible to get the information faster and more economically.” The scientists analyzed the allele data to determine which regions of the genome were most likely to have been affected by the selection practices used by the dairy industry to improve milk production over the past 40 years. The researchers are now focused on six genomic regions that had been identified as being associated with milk yield.

The genomic changes made evident by the analysis were “extensive,” Sonstegard says. As much as 30 percent of the Holstein genome may have been influenced by standard breeding practices.

“Small changes in allele frequency do occur randomly,” Van Tassell says. “But significant changes like these are rare and are almost certainly the result of selection.”

The scientists observed that many of the genes and chromosome regions associated with milk yield were also related to lowered fertility rate, supporting their hypothesis of a genetic link between the two traits. Since high yield and high fertility are both desirable traits, it’s important for producers to recognize that there may be a tradeoff between the two.

“Ultimately, this work may help us understand the limitations of biology as we work to breed a high-performance dairy cow,”


If breeders have changed 30% of the genome of the holstein in 40 years then that is incredible. No wonder why butter does not taste the same, the cows are different, by a lot.

I have not been able to find yet any info on how much the holstein population as a percent of the herd has increased, but the info must be out there. I have seen it claimed that America is now 93% holstein.
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2014 04:38 pm
Very interesting: Dairygold Chefs Choice butter has "natural flavor" added.
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2014 04:51 pm
My first thought was lard, but.. nah.
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2014 06:32 pm
The natural flavoring that is used as an ingredient in Challenge Unsalted Butter, Challenge Unsalted Whipped Butter and Challenge Unsalted European Style Butter, is a natural flavor distilled from fermented milk. It is added to the cream prior to churning and produces flavor compounds that give our unsalted butter a distinctive, pleasing taste. It is an all natural ingredient that is approved by the USDA and the FDA.


This would be in line with my theory that food safety regulations killed the flavor of butter, that they cant process it like they used to. In this case maybe what we see is an attempt to put back some of the flavors that got lost, using a convoluted process. This would also conform to my theory that it is still possible to get around government food safety regulations to make good butter, but that it is more expensive to do so.

I am still working on the theory that excessive Holsteins in the herd as well as holstein breeding is part of the problem. What I am finding is that is seems that almost no one has cared to study the matter of which breeds make the best dairy products, with the exception of a small amount of research showing that Holsteins do not make the best cheese. There is also at least one study that says that Holstein cheese is as good as Jersey cheese, but that working with Jersey is easier.

On the other hand a lot of people swear by Irish butter, and it is 95% Holstein. Irish Holsteins are not American Holsteins however.

I am alarmed that figuring out why butter is not as good as it used to be is so difficult. It seems that industry was able to roll out the crap product and have almost no one notice/care.
0 Replies
Reply Wed 13 Oct, 2021 02:35 pm
0 Replies
Reply Mon 25 Apr, 2022 02:27 am
What a nice term "butter nostalgia"!!
I think everything tastes differently when we were kids. I got dairy butter directly from the farm and we still do sometimes.
I think you are just fine. Butters have gone bland.
0 Replies

Related Topics

Quiznos - Discussion by cjhsa
Should We Eat Our American Neighbours? - Question by mark noble
Favorite Italian Food? - Discussion by cjhsa
The Last Thing You Put In Your Mouth.... - Discussion by Dorothy Parker
Dessert suggestions, please? - Discussion by msolga
  1. Forums
  2. » Butter nostalgia?
  3. » Page 5
Copyright © 2022 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 08/15/2022 at 01:51:16