The growing trend for ‘Heumilch’ or hay milk across some parts of Europe including Austria and Switzerland was a natural development for Italy’s mountain dairy farming in the South Tyrol region.
From late 2016 to March 2017 some regional dairies in South Tyrol introduced “Latte Fieno” or hay milk products creating a new category in the Italian dairy market. Hay milk is milk from cows fed mainly with grass in the summertime and hay in the winter months. Feeding cows with silage or fermented grass is strictly forbidden.
“Hay milk is the most original form of producing milk and therefore a natural development for dairy farmers in the South Tyrol region,” explains Jacopo La Rosa, Elopak’s sales manager in Italy. “No other milk is produced in such a natural and traditional way. “During the summer hay milk cows graze in the meadows and Alpine pastures where they can enjoy herbs and grass with fresh air and pure mountain water,” adds Jacopo. “Animal welfare is important to South Tyrol farmers and is integral to the hay milk process. So, in winter when cows can’t roam freely to graze they are fed the highest quality sun dried hay.
“The process of hay-farming has positive effect on nature as the mowing and grazing promotes the abundance of species – significantly helping to protect the environment and preservation of biodiversity.” Several regional dairies in South Tyrol launched fresh hay milk including Mila, Vipiteno, Merano, Dobbiaco, Brimi, Algund Sennerei and Latteria 3 Cime Dobbiaco. Hay milk products are packaged in a range of Pure-Pak® cartons and includes a variety of whole and skimmed milks. “All milk produced in the South Tyrol region is GMO free due to traditional methods of arming,” adds Jacopo. “The hay milk comes from the South Tyrol mountains, is freshly harvested daily and is full of flavour. A great deal of effort goes into producing hay milk as it must be processed separately from other types of milk so it is a huge investment for the dairies. However, the quality of hay milk has proved popular with consumers who are consistently looking for products that are better for themselves and the world in general.”