Updated: Dec 14, 2021
Do you give your dairy cows palm kernel expeller animal feed? Our latest case study shows it can deliver real benefits in terms of sustainability and profitability.
From a splash of milk in a cup of tea to freshly buttered bread and creamy cheeses – dairy plays an integral role in our day-to-day dietary requirements, and wouldn’t exist without the millions of domestic cattle milked every day by the dairy industry.
Demand for this essential commodity has caused the dairy industry to experience an exponential growth over recent decades. This has led to concerns about its environmental impact, and it is currently under pressure to improve sustainability credentials and reduce its carbon footprint.
Food for Thought
For dairy farmers, this means examining their current supply chain to see what changes can be made – and this includes switching to sustainable feed.
High producing dairy cows, for example, will eat a remarkable 50 - 55kgs fresh weight or 15 - 20 kgs of dry matter (or 3% of her bodyweight) per day. Sourcing a sustainable yet effective feed is absolutely essential if the industry is to become more environmentally friendly whilst continuing to fulfil current demand levels without compromising end product’s quality.
Happy Cows = Happy Dairy Farmers
A well-maintained machine will deliver good quality results – and this is no different for the dairy industry. Farmers can ensure that milk of a suitable standard is being produced by going straight to the source and making sure that theirs cows are healthy and happy.
One way to measure this is through examining the milk’s butterfat content, as one of the primary markers of a cow’s health and overall wellness. A cow requires high quality, well balanced nutrition to produce milk and be profitable - and maize, soya and palm oil can all form part of this solution.
Unfortunately, if farmed unsustainably, these ingredients can all have significant impact on planet in terms of destruction of habitat, displacement of indigenous people and unethical labour practices.
However, if sourced sustainably, palm has a multitude of environmental benefits when compared to other feed commodities, and also presents financial incentives for dairy farmers - including increasing butterfat profitability.
Barrington Farm – Palm Kernel Expeller Animal Feed
To demonstrate this, we ran a case study in conjunction with Daykin Partnership and Barrington Organic Partnership Ltd, who have been using our palm kernel expeller in their 250 all year-round calving heard since May 2021.
In addition to clarifying facts about organic and sustainable palm kernel expeller animal feed, the case study also explores its hidden benefits - offering an insight into how this commodity is practically and financially a better choice for dairy farmers looking to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability.
Palm Kernel Expeller Animal Feed - Measuring Success with Milk
Barrington Farm was initially on a white-water contract regarding butterfat, but in May 2020 moved to a contract that not only had a minimum specification for fat, but also was paid more for higher fat levels.
Whilst the farm produced an average annual butterfat level of 4%, there were several months in the summer where fat levels were low and sometimes near the milk contract minimum.
The farm’s recent butterfat levels for the summer months and annual averages are seen below, where levels drop off in May about six weeks after turnout. Despite heavy buffer feeding with silage from July, the levels do not usually rise until September.
Daily Butterfat Results (May- July) 2020-2021
The daily butterfat levels over the summer period for the last 2 years are seen below. These are shown in relation to the contract target and contract minimum from May to July.
As is evident, Butterfat levels in 2021 remained significantly higher than in 2020, and this was especially noticeable in the trough of June and July. Levels stayed on target for most of the year, never dipping below the specific minimum like six months of the previous year.
The Positives of Palm Kernel
The basic requirement for organic dairy cow feeding is that all macro feed ingredients have to be organic. This by its nature reduces the options for feed ingredient choice.
However - palm kernel is unique in that it fits across all these descriptions, and offers versatility in how it is fed; incorporated into blend, compound, or fed straight. It also contains fibre and oil, making it extremely useful is ruminant feeding, delivering rumen health benefits and aiding product quality – in this case milk fat.
In addition to delivering a cost-effective energy source to milking cows, it complements other farm feeds from both energy and protein perspectives. When used in early autumn feeding strategies, it also boosts fertility levels and milk quality of cows.
This makes it ideal for dairy farmers who are frustrated with the organic system, where milk is typically produced in the spring and summer months from grass with reduced levels of concentrate supplementation – often producing milk lower in butterfat and falling outside their milk supply contract specification levels.
DAABON UK - Feeding For a Sustainable Future
We are the main source of organic and sustainable palm kernel expeller in the UK, and are FEMAS and RSPO accredited – ensuring full traceability of this feed material right back to the growing plantations in Santa Marta Colombia.
Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do, and we are continually looking for ways to produce a quality product that has minimal damage on the people and planet.
Find out more about palm oil animal feed today.
To discuss your requirements, or for additional information about sustainable and organic palm oil and palm kernel expeller for the dairy industry, please get in touch with our team today at https://www.daabonuk.com/contact