This article on "wintering barns", sheds for warmth during cold months features a diet breakdown for the cows used on this dairy farm :
The cows' new diet to prepare for the wintering barn:
520 tonnes of grass silage a year
500 tonnes of palm kernel a year 300 tonnes of whole crop silage a year300 tonnes of whole crop silage a year
150 tonnes of molasses a year100 tonnes of hay or straw a year
100 tonnes of hay or straw a year
30 tonnes of soya meal AF or canola meal a year"
*order changed from original in order to show proportions, most used to least.
Palm Oil is increasingly avoided worldwide for its direct links to deforestation and loss of habitat in endangered forests.
Fonterra, New Zealands largest company, our cows milk monopoly have this to say about PKE given to cows by farmers:
"New Zealand dairy farmers use PKE (palm kernel expeller) – traditionally a waste product from palm oil production – as a supplementary feed. (edit : not in the example above, where its NEARLY the main food given to these poor cows, 520 tonnes Grass Silage vs 500 Palm Kernel Extract)
It plays a role in feeding cows, including during adverse weather such as the droughts we have experienced in recent years. Pasture remains the dominant source of feed for cows with PKE making up approximately 1% of the New Zealand dairy cow diet.
Fonterra shares community concern about tropical deforestation, which in some cases has been driven by the establishment of palm oil plantations. Consequently the company has been proactive in ensuring a sustainable supply of PKE and ensuring we do not support deforestation, directly or indirectly.
Fonterra is also a member of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to ensure we are informed on sustainability issues in South East Asia and to actively contribute to more robust sustainability certification systems. We know there is more work to be done which is why we are closely involved with the RSPO."
They swear up and down "we only use the good stuff", after calling Palm Kernel Extract "...a supplementary feed".
Greenpeace New Zealand have a campaign against Fonterra and their massive purchases of PKE, which is a huge subsidy towards Palm Oil.
Fonterra are often targeted for their other environmental issues, such as using coal on a large scale
Our own local Southland town of Edendale has the worlds largest "dryer" for milk, to take liquid cows milk, and turn it into a yellowish powder, the dryer runs on coal.
I've written before about "Dairy for Death" here, along with a video I took of the Edendale plant, largest of its kind in the world