US companies form JV to improve aquaculture feed

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis contact

- Last updated on GMT

US companies form aquaculture joint venture ©GettyImages/CountDuckula
US companies form aquaculture joint venture ©GettyImages/CountDuckula

Related tags: Aquaculture, Joint venture, plant-based protein, Ddgs

Green Plains Inc. and Optimal Fish Food LLC are looking to nutritional quality and new ingredient use in an aquaculture-focused joint venture.

The South Dakota-based fish feed producer and Nebraska-based commodity processing and cattle feed company announced the joint venture last week. The combined entity is called Optimal Aquafeed and will focus on generating feeds for aquaculture.

Both companies said there is room to make nutritional improvements to aquaculture feeds using new research and “next generation high-protein feed ingredients.”

The joint venture aims to support the global growth of aquaculture.

Green Plains has a background in commercial-scale ethanol production and works with dried distillers grains (DDGS) as a high-protein, high energy feed ingredient along with corn oil, the company said.

Previously, Optima Fish Food had a background working with designing and making extruded pelleted feeds for pond-dwelling trophy fish, said Bill Harris, principal with Optimal Fish Food.

That experience gave the company the chance to work with high-quality feeds designed to support fish health and longevity.

“We have formed our joint venture to bring our knowledge, resources and commitment to feeds for aquaculture of the highest quality,”​ he told FeedNavigator. “In addition, our partnership with Green Plains opens up access to new ingredients and technologies which, with proper evaluation, will allow us to elevate our diets even further.” 

The partnership also allows Optimal Fish Food to benefit from Green Plains work with production at scale, he added. “There is a huge advantage in working with the improved product offering from our JV partner Green Plains Inc as they know how to operate at the scale needed to make an impact in the feed business in terms of volume of product produced,”​ he added.

The 50/50 joint venture will focus on developing feeds for aquaculture species using the knowledge gathered working with sport fish, he said.

Optimal Fish Food will continue to work with feeds for pond and lake fish.

Aquafeed production and JV overview

The Optimal Aquafeed joint venture will focus on providing nutritional support for producers and growers working in the aquaculture sector, said Harris.

“The sole focus is to create highly efficient feeds that deliver to fish producers consistent benefits in feed-related fish performance characteristics and provide a great tasting market size fish to the retail seafood consumer,” ​he said. “We have already engaged in conversations and partnerships with growers in North America and are developing a tailored approach for other key markets around the globe, either directly to the farmer or by way of strong local strategic partners.”

More work is needed to support and improve the production and quality of both currently farmed species and new aquatic species, he said.

“Creation of Optimal Aquafeed enables the utilization of Green Plains resources including production of novel aqua feed ingredients combined with a global scale transport and delivery network."

Production of complete feeds for some species is already in progress, he said.

The group also is in the process of starting a research footprint in the Midwest to assess new diet options and work with new feed ingredients including plant-based proteins.

“We have deliberately cast our net very wide when it comes to the ingredients we will be incorporating in our feeds,”​ said Harris. “We are working with and evaluating a broad offering of plant-based ingredients as well as proteins from single cell organisms.”

The partnership between companies also is intended to provide more transparency in the aquafeed industry and change the relationship amount ingredient suppliers, fish producers and feed manufacturers, he said.

As more producers move away from a fishmeal-based diet new protein-rich ingredients can be used to address feed conversion and expand the range of products available to consumers.

The product line being developed is set to include both extruded complete feeds or proprietary premixes if customers have their own extrusion capabilities, he said.    

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