Planet Range


Dairy farmers can now feed compounds and blends formulated to contain no soya or palm products. The Planet Dairy range launched by Massey Feeds and Harpers Feeds is the first available in the UK to specifically exclude the ingredients widely acknowledged as having the highest environmental impact.

Massey Feeds operate from mills in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire and Preston while Harpers Feeds covers the South West and is based in Holsworthy. In total, the company produces over 400,000 tonnes of compound feed per year.

Announcing the new range, managing director Kynan Massey acknowledges that dairy farmers face a huge challenge in meeting the target of being carbon net zero by 2040. He says major innovation will be required and believes the supply chains must take a significant role in helping farmers move towards the target.

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“Dairy farmers can not and should not be expected to change on their own. What is needed is an integrated approach to develop joined up solutions. Achieving net zero is going to require fundamental changes to how cows are managed, how heifers are reared, how forage is made and on how purchased inputs are sourced and cows rationed.

“With feed being the largest variable cost of dairy farming and contributing 60% of a farm’s net carbon, it is a good place to start.”

He adds that the issue of sustainability is rising up the agenda of milk processors and buyers which is increasing the immediate focus. He cites the company’s own research confirmed that ingredient sourcing is one of the factors being considered.

“We have seen the first real impact of this just recently with Marks & Spencer removing soya from the production of milk from its 44 dedicated supplying farms. Arla are also pushing for carbon neutrality from its 2,000 farms in the UK. By launching the Planet range we are giving farmers keen to move down this route a way to eliminate soya and palm products from their compounds and blends.”

Mr Massey believes there are three actions that feed manufacturers can take to improve the sustainability of their products. The first is to drive down the carbon impact of their manufacturing processes, the second is to take a more sustainable approach to ingredient sourcing while the third is helping drive feed efficiency.

“As a manufacturing business, our principle emissions are from our power usage at each of our sites and the fuel we use from our commercial fleet of vehicles. These currently amount to 26kg Co2 per tonne of feed manufactured and delivered.

“However, we have been monitoring our carbon emissions for nearly 20 years now and have achieved a 20% reduction in emissions in this time. On top of this, by maintaining an up-to-date fleet of vehicles, our emissions per km per tonne of feed for carbon monoxide have dropped by 65%, hydrocarbons by 80% and nitrous oxide by 90%.

“Having reduced the environmental cost of manufacture, we have now turned to the other two areas, resulting in the launch of the Planet Range. As with other commercially available feeds, Planet Dairy Compounds and Blends are available with a number of different protein levels to suit all production systems. But they contain no soya or palm products, making this the first range in the UK to replace the ingredients with the highest environmental impact.”

Mr Massey says that the new range has similar energy and protein content to other products in the Massey Harpers range, insisting that switching to more sustainable ingredients has not compromised the effectiveness of the diets.

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“We have replaced soya bean meal, soya hulls, palm oil, palm kernel and C16 fats with equivalent established ingredients to ensure the range will perform across all dairy farming systems. All ingredients are included on the NutriOpt diet formulation database and we are confident the new range performs as well as other compounds in the rumen.

“The levels of key criteria including total and rapidly fermentable carbohydrates and proteins are the same, Glucogenic energy supply is matched and acid load and fibre index are comparable across the range.

“But is a 200 cow herd feeding two tonnes of compounds and blends per cow per year were to switch to Planet Dairy 18% from our Superlac 18% they would save eight tonnes of soya, nearly 40 tonnes of soya hulls and 20 tonnes of palm kernel and make a significant contribution to reducing deforestation.”

Mr Massey says the range also sets out to help improve feed efficiency. As standard, Novatan, a blend of essential amino acids is included which has a direct effect on protein digestion in the rumen.

It reduces the rate of protein breakdown which means less ammonia is produced in the rumen and that more protein bypasses the rumen altogether. Secondly, it stimulates protein syntheses by the rumen micro-organisms which then use up more ammonia. This means there is less surplus ammonia and consequently lower blood/ milk urea and reduced energy wastage.

“By including Novatan, we can increase efficiency of protein utilisation across the whole diet.”

Acknowledging that different systems face specific challenges, Mr Massey says the core Planet range can be tailored to include other specialist ingredients including for example rumen-inert non-palm fats, high performance minerals and yeast.

“We will continuously review all the ingredients in the range to further improve the sustainability of the Planet Range. Then, working with customers we will help them improve not only the sustainability of their purchased feeds but also efficiency of production to help meet carbon footprint targets.”

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