Dairy farmers are being criticised for using palm oil kernel expeller.
Environmentalists are concerned about the effects of felling tropical rain forests which have been replaced by palm plantations.
There is another side to that debate. Andrei at NZ Conservative points out the hypocrisy of criticising developing nations for doing what developed nations did for years.
However, I have some sympathy for the criticism, albeit for different reasons.
New Zealand’s natural advantage is the climate which enables us to have low cost, free range farming systems. Feed supplements like PKE increase production but they do so at a cost. That might be justified at last year’s record payout but now that the forecast payout for this season is well back it probably isn’t.
The payout goes up and down and there’s very little farmers can do about that. But we do have a fair bit of control about inputs. Keeping the cost of them down with simple systems, based on grass feeding, helps maximise profits in the good years and minimises the damage in the bad ones.
What farmers feed their cows is a business one. But sometimes what’s good for the environment is also good for business and I think less PKE might be better for both.