Helping the dairy farming community improve efficiency is at the heart of everything we do here at Volac. We fundamentally believe this should come without the exploitation of people or the environment.
We believe that dairy nutrition can be transformative and create a more sustainable and healthier world. For us, that means helping farmers to maximise the efficiency of their dairy herd (beginning with dairy calf nutrition), and paying closer attention to the production and ingredients that we use in our milk replacers.
You can find out more about our mission here >>>
Sustainable sourcing of ingredients for milk replacers is extremely important, and manufacturers such as ourselves need to consider both the impact of growing the ingredient and the usefulness of that ingredient itself in meeting the nutritional requirements of the growing calf.
Which brings us to the topic of palm oil…
Why are palm oil products important in calf milk replacers?
The versatility of palm oil makes it ideal for its various uses, but the use of palm oil has attracted huge attention over the years due to the perceived destruction of valuable habitats and the socio-economic impact on the regions in which it is farmed. These can be consequences of non-sustainable practices.
Palm oil is a key ingredient in many modern calf milk formulas due to the fact that it has the perfect fatty acid profile for efficiently meeting the nutritional requirements of the pre-weaned calf. At Volac, we use Palm Olein (a palm oil derivative) within our calf milk replacers due to its efficiency in terms of energy production, growth, and weight gain in young calves.
Palm olein is useful in milk replacers due to its melting point of just 18 - 20oC meaning that it is liquid at room temperature (25 oC). It also contains higher amounts of oleic (39 - 45%) and linoleic acids (10 - 13%) compared to palm oil. Oleic acid is fundamental for promoting the development and body condition that is vital in young calves.
How can palm oil products be sustainable?
It is Volac’s intention to lead the way in promoting the use of responsibly sourced palm oil and palm oil derivatives to secure the future of the dairy industry and the use of sustainable palm oil.
Palm itself is the most efficient oil-producing crop available today, producing more metric tonnes of oil per hectare than any other vegetable crop. Currently, oil palm is grown on approximately 7.49% of land devoted to vegetable oil crops, yet palm oil makes up 41.1% of all vegetable oil production thus making it incredibly efficient. Palm can also be grown on a range of soils, requiring little fertilisation or pesticides and can bear fruit all year round. However, it is the way in which it is has previously been produced using unsustainable and often (now) illegal practices that gets palm oil its negative reputation.
It is important to understand that there are sustainable options for palm. These options offer support to smallholder communities and ensure best practice production and education, leading to no deforestation and no exploitation of local people.
Here at Volac, we operate under the No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) policy; a policy set up in effort towards making the palm oil industry deforestation-free.
The future of palm oil production
With the global population rising at such a dramatic rate, the need for meat, milk and palm also increases. The demand for palm oil has more than doubled since 2000 and will continue to rise as the population grows, hence we must act responsibly and ensure we’re sourcing all of our produce in an efficient and sustainable way.
Because of its wide and far-reaching benefits across many sectors, including food, cosmetics, hygiene and, of course, animal feed, the demand for palm oil is only set to rise. For palm oil to continue to play such a fundamental role, it must be produced sustainably and ethically.
You can also read more about our environmental and social commitments here >>>
We quizzed our team on our sustainability policies at UK Dairy Day:
Published on: 29 October 2021
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