The capital outlay will see production capacity boosted by a third through the installation of the new line, said the company.
Energy consumption of the new line, which is set to be on stream by spring 2017, will be around 30% less than on current runs, but Raisioagro said it is modifying the existing lines for optimal energy use as well.
It also anticipates advances in feed production as a result of the upgrades.
“We are investing in the latest feed processing technology to adapt our fish feed to the needs of the producer. We can ensure accuracy in terms of quality parameters from pellet size, the composition of the feed, to how well it handles in automatic feeders,” Jarmo Puputti, Raisioagro’s managing director, told FeedNavigator.
Baltic Sea sourcing
He said the company has also been increasing its use of plant based inputs in its fish feed. “But critical for us is ensuring a high level of DHA and EPA oils in our feeds.”
So the division has started sourcing fishmeal and fish oil produced from herring and sprat caught in the Baltic Sea. “We are working with officials to ensure full certification of such sources,” said Puputti.
A Swedish University study , published in 2014, indicated the inclusion of Baltic Sea sourced ingredients in fish feeds could allow for a reduction in the import of nutrients, and to close nutrient cycles within the sea.
The researchers’ model showed that by replacing half of the fishmeal used in the feed with Baltic Sea sourced fishmeal the net phosphorus (P) loading can be reduced by 65% if the fish production remains constant, or alternatively, the fish production could be more than doubled while still meeting a target of a 20% P loading reduction.
They said a zero net P load to the Baltic Sea can be achieved if a wider variety of raw ingredients sourced from the Baltic Sea are included.
Fish farming projections
Raisioagro produces fish feed for the Finnish market, where it has a 50% share, and north western Russia in the main, targeting species such as rainbow trout, arctic char, pikeperch and European white fish, essentially species grown in Nordic waters.
It anticipates massive fish feed growth in both Finland and Russia based on government incentives to encourage aquaculture production in those countries. In Finland, it said the goal is to more than double the fish farming sector by 2022.
RaisioAgros's interim report January to March 2016 showed fish feed sales in Finland had got off to a slow start due to a cold spring, but Russian sales were already positive.
Last year saw the division bring out its own fish line, Benella Rainbow Trout, which is cultivated using the company’s Hercules Opti feed.
The feeding methods used, said the company, has enabled a considerably lower use of marine oil in the trout line production and reduced the phosphorus load on the water system. Almost half of the fish oil used in its Hercules Opti feed has been replaced by Finnish rapeseed oil, said Raisoagro.
That feeding concept has two stages. At the beginning, fish are given feeds containing more rapeseed oil. At the final growth stage, they are on a diet containing more fish oil.