US: South Dakota-based novel protein company opens production plant

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis

- Last updated on GMT

© Novita Nutrition
© Novita Nutrition

Related tags Milk

Novita Nutrition has opened a production facility dedicated to the generation of a novel protein and oil for feed use.

The novel protein generating plant, which recently had its grand opening, is set to produce about 1,200 tons of NovaMeal on a daily basis, the company reported. The plant also generates NovaOil.

Work to develop the product from dried distiller grains (DDGS) start in about 2005, the company said. However, work on the $100m production facility did not start until 2015.

The company has been working to reach this point for more than 10 years, said Don Endres, CEO of Novita Nutrition.

“We found a way to improve the digestibility of distillers dried grains,”​ he told FeedNavigator. “We did a lot of testing, had papers published, did university trials and commercial feeding trials and then built the plant.”

The plant is generating a novel protein with the ability to potentially lower feed costs for dairy and poultry producers, he said. “We’re really excited about it,” ​he added.

“We’re bringing a brand new protein to the feed business,”​ said Endres. The goal is to offer a better feed ingredient that improves digestibility, helps with animal production and reduces feed costs.

“We’re very pleased,”​ he said of the facility opening. “We were confident that we had a great product and a market – we’re pleased to have the plant online.”

Facility specifics and product market

The current location has rail and truck access, said the company.

The location near Brookings, South Dakota was selected for several factors, said Endres. Including that, there is ready access to source material and a growing market for the protein product.

“We’re in one of the best locations for lower cost feed stock as there’s a lot of ethanol production [here],” ​he said. “We have growing dairy numbers in the eastern [part of the state] – and South Dakota is a great place to do business.”

To generate the NovaMeal, the facility uses an extraction process to transform the DDGS into the novel protein that is similar to what can be found with soybean meal processing, he said. However, additional work is done both before and after the extraction process to remove the unsaturated fat from the grains.

The production process improves the bypass nature of the protein, which helps more of the product’s amino acids reach the digestive tract, he said. The fat is removed because it can be harmful to ruminal microbes.

However, the oil works well when included in feed for monogastrics, and especially poultry, said Endres. “They need concentrated sources of energy,”​ he added.

Additionally, the oil has elements that help produce a richly colored egg yolk and to improve the color of broiler meat, he said.

The initial market for the products has been in the US, he said.

“We’ll continue to expand the market presence,”​ said Endres. “We’re starting in the US with the large western dairy sheds and working into the eastern markets, but we’re also beginning early discussions on exporting product.”

There also are some long-term plans for expanding the current facility in the future, he said.

NovaMeal in the diet

To use the protein meal, Novita works with dairy producer nutritionists to formulate new rations, said Endres. The meal offers both a high quality protein and an amount of digestible fiber.

It can be used to replace other high bypass proteins, like canola, and it offers levels of some amino acids, including methionine and histidine, he said.

In past research evaluating the feed ingredient, it was found to have the most rumen un-degradable protein (RUP) and RUP digestibility when compared to soybean meal and different types of distillers dried grains.  

It also had the least ruminal degradation of methionine, of the ingredients compared, the company said.

In a feeding trial comparing use of NovaMeal, soybean meal and expellers soybean meal and DDGS in feed for lactating dairy cow, researchers found that dry matter intake and milk yield were similar for all diets, the company reported. However, cows getting NovaMeal had a greater milk fat percentage and yield than cows getting the DDG diet, and milk protein percentage and yield were greater for cows getting NovaMeal compared to either of the other diets.

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