Assessing and Enhancing Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) Concentrations in Foods from Pastured Dairy and Beef Cattle

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2001: $81,144.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2004
Region: North Central
State: Missouri
Project Coordinator:
Lora Friest
Resource Conservation and Development for Northeast Iowa, Inc


  • Agronomic: barley, corn, oats, soybeans, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Animals: bovine
  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Animal Production: grazing - continuous, feed formulation, feed rations, winter forage, feed/forage
  • Crop Production: cover crops
  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: feasibility study
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    This research assessed the concentration of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in milk and beef from farms that varied management systems. On-farm dairy- and beef-controlled studies compared the CLA concentration in milk and beef from cattle either pastured or fed with stored feeds and higher amount of concentrates. Intensively pastured cows produced milk with CLA concentrations that were about 3- to 4-fold greater than in milk from cows fed mostly stored feeds and concentrates. Beef CLA concentration from cattle finished on a combination of pasture and concentrates were higher with those from cattle finished on conserved forages plus concentrates.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Determine factors affecting and optimizing CLA concentrations in milk and meat across a broad spectrum of largely pasture-based dairy and beef operations throughout the year (dairy and beef comparison studies).

    Describe seasonal CLA concentration changes in milk from cows moving from winter rations onto spring pasture, determine ability of feeding supplements to enhance presumed increases, and quantify costs involved in enhancing CLA concentrations above pasture levels (dairy controlled study).

    Describe seasonal CLA concentration changes in meat from steers moving from fresh pasture onto winter feeding, determine winter feeding strategies that maintain the highest CLA concentrations, and quantify costs involved (beef controlled study).

    Increase awareness and knowledge of factors affecting and maximizing CLA concentrations in meat and milk from grazing systems among researchers, producers, and marketers and stimulate the application of this knowledge in additional research, management changes by producers, and marketing efforts of individual producers and the Coulee Region of Organic Producers Pool (CROPP).

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.