Little bit of chocolate for the cows
South Waikato News reporter Caitlin Wallace never imagined her favourite treat of chocolate would end up in stock feed.
All things delicious and sweet have found their way into stock feed right here in the South Waikato.
Palm kernel and tapioca are perhaps some of the likely ingredients in a feed but who would imagine chocolate, lollies and jam would be too?
Tokoroa’s James and Son stock feed site brings in up to 4000 tonnes of materials.
Chief operating officer Greg Pillar said that includes ‘‘everything imaginable’’.
Some would not think these sweet treats would end up as cow feed but Pillar said it is normal practice across the world.
Unlike many of us, cows do not succumb to more than their fair share of the sugary foods.
‘‘It is incredibly good energy but the volumes aren’t massive they just enhance the feed,’’ Pillar said.
Most of the materials used in the feed are byproducts, according to Pillar. This means the factory made products are not up for ‘‘human consumption’’.
‘‘A biscuit may have a chip on it or something,’’ he said.
While a lot of products will be saved from the landfill, Pillar said James and Sons are ‘‘very picky’’.
And the processes are not as simple as some may think.
‘‘It’s not just a case of grabbing stuff and putting it together. You need expertise,’’ he said.
Though Pillar could not go into details he said specialised equipment and the right knowledge is used to formulate and blend feeds.
Pillar said there has been a huge demand for the intriguing product.
‘‘ We always used to make a standard two-three blends,’’ he said.
Now the majority of the feeds are ‘‘tweaked’’ for farmers.
‘‘Every farm is different and our policy is to do what our farmers need,’’ he said.
Pillar said demand is down to farmers who need to keep up production without buying more land.
Sweet surprise: Tokoroa site manager Tony Hall and the James and Son sales representatives are no strangers to the processes of stock feed.