Fonterra Grass and Pasture Fed Standard

Defining the minimum requirements for the consumption of grass, and time spent on pasture*, for Fonterra NZ dairy cows.

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What is the Fonterra Grass and Pasture Fed Standard?

The Fonterra Grass and Pasture Fed Standard defines the minimum requirements for the consumption of grass, and time spent on pasture*,
for Fonterra New Zealand dairy cows on an average, annual basis. It also outlines the required methods of calculating these metrics.

grass gumboot grazing farm cow

Why does Fonterra have a Grass and Pasture Fed Standard?

There is no international standard that defines the term ‘Grass-fed’. However, we believe that consumers and customers have the right to transparency on the meaning and value of grass-fed claims that are made on packaging and that we should be accountable for having a reasonable validation process to support the claims that we make.

Please note that the Grass & Pasture-Fed Standard supports the related claims which we make for our own products, and which we offer to our customers for use in relation to their own products. Any usage of these claims is further qualified, substantiated, and controlled, by way of ‘Proof Points’, Q&A, and Licence documentation. Therefore this Grass & Pasture-Fed Standard cannot by itself be used to support any product claims; such use of, or reliance on, the claims which our Grass & Pasture-Fed Standard supports, is always subject to those documents.

Meeting the Fonterra Grass and Pasture Fed Standard

To be able to be considered Grass-fed under our standard, the following statistics must be met or exceeded across the entire Fonterra New Zealand milk pool:


  • Grass* comprises at least 80% of the diet calculated on a dry matter basis. Using current feed proportions, this is equivalent to 92% on an ‘as consumed’ basis.
  • Cows spend at least 90% of their time outside on pasture*

We assess these standards against a sample size of at least 80% of all Fonterra’s New Zealand farms.

What Data Do We Collect?

Our Fonterra Grass & Pasture Fed Standard requires all Fonterra New Zealand suppliers to provide data on feed and farm practices.


This data is collected through the Farm Dairy Records process during the period 1 May to 31 July annually, and is based on the previous season’s feed and farm practices. A Fonterra season is defined as 1 June until 31 May and reflects the natural milk production period based on a pasture based production system.

Determining Compliance with our Standards

Collected data allows Fonterra to determine compliance of the Fonterra New Zealand milk pool against the requirements of the Grass and Pasture Fed Standard.

The data collected includes:

  • Total farm area
  • Dairy farm area (effective and non-effective area) that includes the milking platform
  • Supplementary feed use including feed type, feed source, feed amounts in dry matter and/or wet weight
  • Forage crops grown on farm including crop type and area (in hectares). Forage crops are defined as plants used for animal feed usually consumed in situ as whole plants
  • Use of feed pads on farm, including how many hours per day the feed pad is used and the percentage of herd that is using the feed pad, recorded in monthly totals
  • Use of stand-off, loafing pads or wintering barns used on farm including how many hours per day and percentage of herd using the facility, recorded in monthly totals

How do we verify our Data?

All Fonterra suppliers are third party audited against the Fonterra Farm Dairy, Dairy Material Collection, Storage and Transportation RMP 302 protocol.

This ensures that all activities on farm meet the requirements and code of practices in New Zealand, as well as Fonterra standards that support the eligibility of dairy material being sold to overseas markets.

These on-farm independent assessments also provide further detail on purchased feed and the documentation supporting feed purchased, and farm practices for all Fonterra farms.

In addition to these assessments, a random sample of 20% of all Fonterra New Zealand farms is selected each year for verification of their submitted Farm Dairy Record data. This additional verification audit is part of the annual Farm Dairy Assessment.

All Farm Dairy assessors performing audits on Fonterra New Zealand farms are also audited annually and calibrated to ensure data integrity and performance.

Certification of our standard

Our Fonterra Grass & Pasture Fed Standard is third party certified by AsureQuality, an independent Conformity Assessment Body (CAB). AsureQuality is accredited by the Joint Accreditation Scheme for Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ) to certify against this standard.


AsureQuality perform a management system audit annually, as well as a data compliance audit annually to ensure the integrity of these Grass & Pasture Fed claims.

The Fonterra Grass & Pasture-Fed Standard is also governed by the Trusted Goodness Scheme Owners group. This group is comprised of representative stakeholders, including Fonterra Management, AsureQuality (Certification Body), representatives from the Farm Dairy Contracted Service Provider, a group of Fonterra Farmers for supplier representation, and Fonterra Subject Matter Experts for each individual Fonterra standard. This group meets annually to review the performance and integrity of the standard and to ensure the continuous improvement of this standard.

*Refer to our Grass-Fed FAQs for full information on these statements. Any use of, or reliance on, the information contained on this website is not the responsibility of NZMP or the Fonterra Group.  

A grass-fed diet is defined as grass, grass silage, hay and forage crops

Excluding milking time (defined as the period that dairy cows are walked to and from the milking shed and the time taken to perform milking)  

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