Drought conditions cause change of colour in butter

Has your butter changed colour?
Has your butter changed colour? Photo credit: File / Getty

Life has changed in many ways in lockdown: More Netflix, less social interaction and perhaps a new appreciation for life outdoors.

But recently, some have pointed out another thing has changed.

The colour of butter.

Yes that's right, butter, normally a rich yellow, appears to have turned pale - even white - for some people.

Golden Bay dairy farmer Wayne Langford took to Twitter to point out the colour change, saying the white hue looked like his "tan free legs".

According to Anchor's marketing manager Katie McClure, the change is nothing to be concerned about though. 

The cause of the whiter colour is related to extreme weather conditions like drought that are affecting many parts of the country.

"When cows eat a lot of grass, a yellow pigment naturally occurs in the milk fat, which we typically see in the rich yellow colour of our butter," McClure said.

"At this time of year, when there’s less grass growth, cows aren’t eating as much grass. This season in particular has been quite exceptional with flooding down south and drought up north. This is why some butter packs might be a little paler than usual right now."

There was no change in the quality of the butter, she said.

Farmers have been hit hard this year, with drought conditions leaving much of the country bone dry.

In the Hawke's Bay, farmers have said they are under huge pressure as they struggle to deal with bare paddocks, hungry stock and limited feed.

Earlier this month the Government announced a further $500,000 package to help relieve farmers but some said it was a mere "drop in the ocean" and was a case of "too little too late".

So far this year, the Government has given $17 million to help rural communities battling with drought.