Without our leading ladies, Gruyère AOP wouldn’t exist at all. Their quality milk gives our noble cheese its distinctive taste so appreciated by its consumers.
Within the Gruyère AOP network, the principal breeds are Red Holsteins and Holsteins, with their respective coats of red and white and white and black. One also finds some Montbéliardes, some Brown Swiss or even some Simmentals. Each cow proudly bears the name given to her by her breeder.
Bovines are ruminants and consume principally grass and hay. To produce their milk, they ingest these feeds, either in the pasture or the manger during wintertime, and then peacefully ruminate, thus enabling them to absorb the nutritional values which are later found in their milk and eventually in the Gruyère AOP. On average, the cows produce about 30 kg of milk per day. To achieve this, they eat approximately 20 kg of dry feed. In addition to the grass and hay, the milk producer completes their ration with some natural proteins. Don’t forget, the specifications for Gruyère AOP require that 70% of the cows ration must come from the dairy farm. In addition, no additives or growth activators are permitted.
A cow brings her first calf into the world at 2 years of age. Thereafter, she will give birth again most every year. Over the course of her lifetime, she will produce more or less 40,000 litres of milk. In certain cases, she will manage to give up to 100,000 litres of milk.