Proceedings

PR – A2 Milk, Farmer Decisions, And Risk Management

Approximately 500 New Zealand (NZ) dairy farmers are converting their herds to eliminate production of A1 beta-casein within the milk. The alternative casein is A2 beta-casein, and the associated milk is known as A2 milk. A2 milk can be considered the original milk before a mutation affected some antecedents of modern European breeds. A1 beta-casein and its derivative beta-casomorphin7 (BCM7) have been implicated in numerous health issues including Type 1 diabetes, heart disease and autism. There are now more than 100 relevant papers in peer reviewed journals. The broader NZ herd is also drifting away from A1 beta-casein production due to a serendipitous association between genetic merit as measured in NZ and A2 beta-casein. There is no evidence of this occurring in other countries. The farmer decisions can be structured using concepts of risk management and decision theory. However analysis is complicated by uncertainty as to future premiums/discounts associated with A2/A1 milk. Outside of NZ most farmers know nothing about the issue.

Keywords: A2 milk, A2 beta-casein, health, risk management, New Zealand.

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Author(s): Woodford, K.

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Organizations(s): Agriculture and Life Sciences Divisions, Lincoln University, Christchurch