AgFirst consultants Kim Robinson and Chris Boom have been involved in running a supplement trial for the Northland Dairy Development Trust.
The three year trial is investigating the use of palm kernel extract (PKE) and other supplements on farm production, profitability and environmental measures.
This project compares a farm that does not import any supplement (Pasture Only farm, 2.7 cows/ha) with a farm that only imports PKE (PKE Only farm, 3.1 cows/ha) and a farm that imports PKE and other supplements (PKE Plus Farm, 3.1 cows/ha).
The trial came about as a result of farmers asking whether it was profitable to import other feeds such as DDG to boost production when FEI is limiting PKE use.
PKE is fed on the PKE Only and PKE Plus farms when pasture supply is limiting. Other supplements are fed to the PKE Plus farm when milk fat evaluation index (FEI) levels indicate no further PKE can be fed.
Download the first year results here.