Palm Kernel Extract
3 min read
Palm Kernel Extract (PKE) is a by-product from South East Asia's palm oil industry. This feed, while initially unappetising to cows, becomes acceptable when pasture is scarce due to its decent energy and protein content. The feed's cost-effectiveness depends on its price compared to milk. The Fat Evaluation Index (FEI) indicates milk fat's suitability for various products. Your FEI is mainly influenced by the PKE amount and fat content you feed. Other factors like diet composition, lactation stage, and specific breeds can also impact it. To manage FEI, monitor your graphs, check PKE fat percentages, and adjust feeds as needed. DairyNZ supports research to aid farmers in understanding FEI guidelines.
Palm Kernel Extract (PKE) is a by-product of the palm oil industry in South East Asia.
It is a dry, gritty meal with a soapy smell and has low palatability until cows get a taste for it. However, when short of pasture, it is an acceptable feed because it:
The profitability of PKE is dependent on the price of PKE relative to milk price and the utilisation of PKE and pasture.
A Fat Evaluation Index (FEI) Grading System was introduced by Fonterra in 2018. This index was designed to indicate the suitability of the milk fat composition for processing into a variety of products.
The following information explains the FEI and how to manage PKE feeding levels so that milk is fit-for-purpose.
The main driver of FEI is the amount of PKE fed and the PKE fat content. PKE fat content can vary from about 3 – 10% with region, origin, supplier, or shipment.
There are other factors that affect the FEI which is why one farmer may be able to feed more PKE compared with another without incurring a grading. In order of impact these are:
As a farmer-funded, industry good organization, DairyNZ is tasked with helping farmers understand and respond to any changes in the dairy industry such as new guidelines and recommendations.