The County of Northumberland Education Committee has issued a very valuable report on palm-kernel cake and meal, and coconut cake compared with Soya cake for fattening cattle and sheep. The trials were carried out at the County Agricultural Experiment Station, Cockle Park. The summary results were :-

Standard

Ration.

Palm Kernel Cake Ration

Palm Kernel Meal Ration.

Coconut Cake Ration.

Bollocks, . Heifers, . Average, .

Lbs. 16.50

8.92 12.71

Lbs. 12.44 10.00 11.22

Lbs. 14.19

9.25 11.72

Lbs. 15.70

7.42 11.56

The cakes and meal were kept in the granary and were in quite good condition after being stored for some months.

In some previous trials palm-kernel cake gave the cattle more glossy coats and more ' bloom," but in these trials no such effect was produced on the fattening cattle or on the young stirks.

Better average gains were given by those wintered inside than those wintered outside, but at the end of March practical valuers attached 30s. a head more value to those wintered outside, as they had better coats of hair and were more promising grazing cattle. Palm-kernel meal gave better results than palm-kernel cake with these young cattle, although the meal contained less than 2 per cent, of oil and the cake nearly 6 per cent. The gains per week were quite satisfactory for such store cattle in winter, and each lot went through the winter well.

The sheep used were three parts bred hogs and had been bred near Rothbury in 1915. All the lots made satisfactory gains, which indicated palm-kernel cake and palm-kernel meal as suitable foods for fattening sheep. Again palm-kernel meal gave a better result than palm-kernel cake.

The fattening bullocks made average net gains of from 3 to 6 a head. Their live weight value increased from 47s. to 62s. a cwt. during the fattening period. The fattening heifers made average net gains of 50s. to 64s. a head. The net gains per head for the stirks varied from 10s. to 23s., and their value as stores increased from 42s. 6d. a cwt. at the beginning of the winter to 48s. at the end. The fattening hogs made net gains per head of from 3s. to 5s., and improved in live weight value from 5 1/2|d. to 6 1/4d. a lb. during the fattening period.

Palm-kernel meal is found to be an excellent basis for a pig meal, and as more oil is obtained from palm kernels by means of the extraction process of which palm-kernel meal is the by-product, it was also of the greatest importance to test extracted palm-kernel meal as a feeding-stuff.

The following table gives the composition of palm-kernel cake in comparison with coconut, linseed, and cotton-seed cakes :Constituents per Cent.

Soya Cake.

Egypt

Cotton

Cake.

Coconut Cake.

Palm-Nut Cake.

Palm-Kernel Meal.

Maize.

Moisture,

10.40

11.60

11.65

11.00

12.40

14.30

Oil, ...

6 03

4.07

8.37

5.40

1.35

4.54

Albuminoids, .

43.85

24.30

21.75

21.00

18.81

9.89

Carbo-hydrates,

29.97

34.33

41.96

43.2

40.94

68.20

Fibre, .

4.60

20.5

10.75

15.78

22.60

1.47

Ash, Nitrogen,

515

5.55

5.52

3.70

3.90

1.00

100 00

100.00

100.00

100.00

100.00

100.00

7.02

3.89

3.48

3.36

3.01

1.58

Sand,

0.65

0.70

1.05

0.75

0.80

none

Digestible oil, .

5.5

3.8

81

5.2

1.3

4 0

Digestible true albu-

minoids,

37.7

19.9

16.5

17.5

15.6

6.7

Digestible carbo-hy-

drates and fibre,

21.6

28.6

41.5

46.1

49.4

65.4

Starch equivalent,

67

47

80

75

66

82

Another product of the oil palm which is not so generally known is fibre ; this fibre is of very good quality, and realises as much as 60 a ton on the Liverpool market.

It is the only fibre that is sufficiently fine and strong to make fishing lines, and this is the only use to which it is put by the natives. It is obtained from the young pinnae, the older leaves being too strong and coarse to permit the hand-extraction of the fibre.

The process of extraction is laborious, and, therefore, unremunerative, the cost of the production being as high as 75 a ton. There remains, however, a possi-pility that a mechanical or a chemical process may be introduced to separate the fibre from the pinnae cheaply.

The tendency in the palm oil and kernel trade is to have large factories and mills on the spot for treating the material, and, therefore, a few words are necessary on this subject. First, the selection of a site for an oil-palm factory necessitates a careful examination of the productivity of oil palms in the vicinity.

Secondly, factories requiring large supplies of palm fruit near at hand will probably have to resort to plantation methods, in which case the choice of the best variety of palm for planting will be essential.

Thirdly, a factory requiring 5 tons of palm fruit daily and producing from about | to 1 ton of palm oil, will require about 30,000 trees (say 80 to the acre). This is based upon the calculation that, as the fruit heads consist of only 64 per cent, of fruit (the remainder being useless fibrous stem, bracts, etc.), it would be necessary to collect and transport to the factory nearly 8 tons of fruit heads daily, or, taking the number of working days in the year as 200, and thus allowing for the fact that the palms do not bear fully throughout the year, over 1,500 tons per annum.

Smart (Committee on Edible and Oil-producing Nuts and Seeds, Minutes of Evidence, 1916) states that an area of 14 square miles (about 9,000 acres) would be desirable for the establishment of a factory working 10,000 tons of fruit a year, but that such an area in full bearing would produce over 25,000 tons of fruit a year, or 1,000 tons of fruit per annum from 360 acres, which agrees closely with the figure arrived at above. It is obvious that large factories would require considerable areas even under plantation conditions, but that under the present conditions, where the trees are largely wild and irregularly distributed and where it is necessary to allow for bad seasons, the loss of fruit owing to animal and human depredations and other eventualities, a much larger area would be required. From the above considerations it is evident that even a moderate-sized factory must be located in the centre of a large oil-palm area, and that considerable quantities of fruit must be collected and transported over long distances, necessitating a good supply of cheap labour and adequate transport facilities.

Coconuts, Kernels, etc.- Capt. H. O. Newland.

Plate VI

Tanks (for Commercial Supremacy) of Palm Oil at Kinshata, Congo

Tanks (for Commercial Supremacy) of Palm Oil at Kinshata, Congo.

Finally, one word about the packing and transport. Care should be taken that kernels do not cause a fire on board ship. In Nigeria six sacks of palm kernels were submitted by the police department for investigation as to the cause of a fire which occurred in the hold of a ship loading in the Lagoon. The fire seems to have broken out in several separate places in the cargo, which consisted of bags of kernels solidly packed.