Imports of palm kernel (PKE) – which Fonterra is keen for farmers to cut back on – rose slightly in September compared with the same month in 2014.
PKE imports came to 213,488 tonnes in September, up 0.8 per cent from 211,709 tonnes in September 2014, according to data from Statistics New Zealand.
Fonterra said last month that it wanted to “future proof” the co-operative’s position as a world-leading and trusted producer of pasture-based milk products. The co-op put forward a recommended maximum of 3kg/per day/per cow was a guideline.
Palm kernel has become a useful standby for farmers, particularly during abnormal weather, when consumption can go up to 10kg a day.
The product came into its own in 2007 when a drought sent North Island farmers looking for new feed sources, marking a step change for palm kernel as a viable feed supplement.
Imports of palm kernel – a byproduct of the palm oil process – have gone from 96,000 tonnes in 2003 to 2 million tonnes last year.