Palm Kernel Expeller, also known as palm kernel cake or meal (PKE), is a significant economic by-product of palm oil production. It is one of the three main products of palm oil plantations, in addition to palm oil and palm kernel oil. PKE is a by-product of the palm oil extraction process from the fruit of the palm. It is a quality stock feed containing high levels of crude protein and medium energy levels. It is completely safe to feed as a supplement for most classes of livestock. PKE is ideally suited to feeding in conjunction with high energy feeds such as maize silage or molasses.
PKE is a waste by-product of palm oil production. The pulp left after oil is rendered from the kernel is formed into palm kernel expeller, which is the mashed solid part of the seed kernels left remaining after oil extraction. In larger mills, the palm kernels are normally separated from the shells using a mechanical process involving winnowing (separating the husks or seed coat from the oil-bearing material) and hydrocyclones (a static device that applies centrifugal force to a liquid). The kernels are then dried in silos to a moisture content of about seven percent before packing.
PKE is used as an animal feed for pigs, cattle, fish, sheep and cows. It can be fed directly to animals as singular feedstuff, and it is known for balanced source of energy and protein with high fibers and palmitic acid content.
In the beef industry, PKE is used to feed beef cattle in intensive farms or to fatten cattle (including pasture-grazed animals) in commercial feedlots for beef production.
In the dairy industry, lactating dairy cows require 25-35% more food than bulls, calves and non-lactating cows, and are often kept in zero-grazing (intensive) farms, thus PKE is more intensively used in the dairy than the beef industry.
PKE is also used for electricity generation in combined coal-biomass power plants.