Using Kiwifruit as Stock Feed Safely

The time of year is approaching where there is a surplus of kiwifruit that can be used as a stock feed.  Kiwifruit is a good quality feed, commonly used as dry cow feed, and Dairy NZ has recently provided advice to Bay of Plenty farms about how to stockpile fruit and use it for best cow health. 

KVH is supportive of reject fruit being used as stock feed (although processing is the first preference), but it must be managed using best practice:

  • Ensure piles of reject fruit are covered to prevent birds mass feeding on any softened fruit. 
  • Material such as Sarlon wind mesh (image below) is ideal as it allows the pile to breathe but excludes the birds.  

The reason for excluding birds is to reduce the amount of wild kiwifruit establishing, through the spread of bird-borne seed.  It’s mostly waxeyes, sparrows and black birds that feed on softened fruit. 

Destroying wild kiwifruit vines is now one of New Zealand’s biggest weed control programmes. Working in partnership, the programme cost the kiwifruit industry, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and contributing landowners about $450,000 in the year 1 April 2020 – 31 March 2021 and late last year saw the signing of a new agreement to ensure the work continues over the next 10 years. 

Read more about the programme, and how to prevent wild kiwifruit establishing, on the KVH website here.