Olivier Dioux, general manager of Dielna, was speaking to FeedNavigator a few weeks after that company’s takeover of the ruminant liquid feed business of Provimi France, a move that would allow Dielna to strengthen its standing and reach in the French dairy sector.
“Although we are certainly witnessing a stabilization, and even a slight upturn, following the major crisis of the sector last year, [French dairy] farmers are remaining cautious, because prices are taking their time to rise again from the current low levels.
“Nevertheless, things are looking very good for Dielna’s business development, because farmers are increasingly seeking to enhance the use of forage produced on their farms,” said Dioux.
With 35% of the liquid feed market in France, Dielna leads the segment. The company produces around 35,000 metric tons of that product on an annual basis, mainly out of its Bourg Beaudouin plant near Rouen.
The Provimi deal, said Dioux, will result “in a gain of about 40% in tonnage – in other words, between 15,000 and 20,000 metric tons.”
The acquisition, critically, also sees Dielna gain access to Brittany and to the southern part of Pays de la Loire, two of the main French centers for the dairy industry - Provimi’s liquid feed activity is run out of two production sites, the principal one is located in Mayenne, at Saint-Aignan sur Roé in Northwestern France.
“The [Provimi] range comprises several products of varying energy and nitrogen content, aimed at balancing and supplementing the different rations currently used by farmers who rely on the forage produced on their own farms,” he added.
Liquid feed has several advantages, he said. “It enhances the nutritional value of farm-produced forages; it limits acidosis by increasing the ingestion of palatable fiber. Supplied as a pre-mixed ration, it limits feed sorting by the cattle and reduces waste, [and] it improves the energy density of the ration by increasing its ingestion and improving its degradation.”
Whether Dielna would look to market beyond France following the Provimi deal, he told us:
“Liquid feed remains a localized market, mainly in France. The reasons are that the development of liquid feed is dependent on the availability of the necessary raw materials - namely sugars and nitrogen - in the market concerned, and the farming methods use in this market, since liquid feed is [developed] for animals fed mainly by forage produced on the farm. On this basis, we are studying the possibility of developing the techniques of liquid feed in countries meeting these two criteria.”