Dairy cows fed Camelina as a replacement for sunflower meal produce healthier milk, a recent study shows.

The research, by a team at the school of veterinary science at the University of Bucharest, found that partial or full replacement of sunflower meal with Camelina meal didn’t have any negative impact on the ability of dairy cows to produce milk. But valuable concentrations of polyunsaturated fatty acids, Omega6 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) were improved significantly when Camelina meal was fed as a replacement. Concentrations of saturated fatty acids also significantly decreased. “In conclusion, the vegetal ingredients rich in PUFA have beneficial effects on milk  quality which in turn improves the health states of consumers,” the research team said.

This work complements earlier research by Daniel Mierlita and Simona Iona Vicas, published in the South African Journal of Animal Science, that found dietary supplementation with Camelina seed increased the oxidative stability of milk samples in dairy ewes – suggesting that a “grass-silage-based diet supplemented with Camelina seed results in milk of better quality for human consumption.”

It’s worth mentioning too that Finnish researchers publishing in the Journal of Dairy Science found that cow rations supplemented with Camelina oil produce milk containing isomers that are known to confer cardiovascular and immune system benefits. The same study found a serendipitously positive environmental effect: cows fed camelina produce less methane gas!