Patent processes in other markets are pending — the Benemilk portfolio contains 30 patent applications in total, with significant work carried out recently to strengthen the intellectual property rights (IPR) related to the product, said Matti Rihko.
“We have also had a really exciting year also in relation to Benemilk R&D – the range now covers all the relevant feeding systems for cattle,” the CEO told FeedNavigator today.
The Benemilk feed range, which contain fatty acids, glucose precursors and amino acids, as well as certain components to boost cellular-level functions, has a 10% market share of the dairy cattle feed sector in Finland. The range is said to boost dairy productivity gains by increasing yields and improving the fat and protein content of milk.
Raisioagro, the feed and grain division of Raisio, entered the Russian dairy cattle market with Benemilk last August but through export and not a licensing deal. That was the first time the product was used commercially outside Finland.
The company now wants to extend the footprint of Benemilk internationally:
“Along with moving into the wider European dairy cattle sector, we are especially focused on entering the North American and Asian markets with Benemilk through licensing agreements. We are preparing to run both industrial and feeding trials in several countries,” said Rihko.
He said while Benemilk is positioned as a premium feed and involves a “learning curve” for producers using it for the first time, the product provides a real return on investment (ROI) in terms of productivity and economic benefits.
“It enhances the metabolism of a cow, raises milk production efficiency by around 10%, increases energy-corrected milk yield by an average of 2.6kg per day, and cuts down on a cow’s drinking water consumption. This roughly translates at $400 savings per cow per year,” added Rihko.
He said the improvement in feed efficiency it allows is also important from an environmental perspective as the globally increasing demand for milk is putting pressure on feed supplies and increasing the competition for land.
Raisioagro said studies conducted by the University of Helsinki confirmed the efficacy of the Benemilk concept with various feed mixes. The results obtained in scientific studies have also been borne out in farm monitoring, added the company.
New business model
Cattle feeds are one of Raisioagro’s focus areas under its new business model. It ceased production of its loss-making pig and poultry feeds last year in a bid to concentrate on its core competencies.
The division now focuses on the “more lucrative” cattle and fish feed businesses, grain trade as well as online sales of farming supplies.
“There is significant global demand for innovative cattle and aquaculture feeds and producers in those two sectors have shown themselves willing to pay a premium for quality products,” said Rihko.
Last year, Raisioagro enhanced the production process of fish feeds, allowing for production of higher quality feeds, and increased packaging line capacity at its Nokia flake factory in Finland.
The company’s Hercules LP Opti feeding program underpins its performance in fish feeds. Launched in 2013, the system is said to ensure the formation of wholesome fatty acids in salmon, whilst boosting fish farming profitability and reducing the use of wild fish oil in feeds.
Raisioagro said the program has been well received and already feeds more than half of rainbow trout farmed in Finland.