Cargill expands aquaculture feed research facilities in Norway

Cargill Innovation Center (CIC) in Dirdal in Norway has expanded one of two research locations from 4 to 12 cages. The NOK 15 million investment significantly increases the capacity to conduct field trials on salmon feed.
Cargill Innovation Center facilities in Dirdal, Norway.
Cargill Innovation Center facilities in Dirdal, Norway.Photo: Cargill.

Cargill Innovation Center (CIC) in Dirdal, Norway, has invested NOK 15 million in expanding its research facilities, with the aim of increasing capacity to conduct field trials for salmon feed innovation.

Its smaller sea site, previously with 4 cages, has now been expanded to 12. The company now has a total of 24 cages at its disposal across its two sea sites in the country.

The expansion comes alongside approval for a greater total biomass of fish, with the maximum limit now increased from 910 tonnes to 1400 tonnes, which the company says will mean improved flexibility in how feed and feeding trials are run. 

More advanced experiments and better testing data

"We now have the opportunity to carry out nutritional trials at almost full scale with up to four different feeds simultaneously," said scientist Terje Utne, who is responsible for Cargill Aqua Nutrition’s field trials in Norway.

"This enables more advanced experimental design and a much-improved scientific outcome compared to field trials comparing one test diet to a reference diet. We don't necessarily get to carry out more trials, but the information from the trials we carry out becomes much more valuable," he explained. 

Utne now looks forward to adopting experimental designs that explore extremes so that he can model effects in between. This provides a significantly better starting point for continuously adapting feeds to variations in raw material prices, raw material availability, salmon prices, customer requests and more, the company said.

The facility improvements are also expected to mean improved fish health and welfare, with the surface area increasing from 2,300 square meters to 30,000 square meters. With two nearly identical facilities and 24 cages, this helps to standardize mooring components, user manuals, equipment and more, the company said.

Norway needs more sustainable feed, says Cargill R&D Director

"The Cargill Innovation Center in Dirdal puts a lot of effort into the development of feed with stable and high performance produced from safe raw materials," said Cargill R&D Operation Director Tor Andre Giskegjerde.

"With state-of-the-art facilities and world-class researchers, the innovation center in Dirdal lays the foundation for Cargill to offer its customers advice and fish feed of the highest class. Field trials are the last step in the development that will contribute to new and more sustainable feed for aquaculture in Norway."

"Recently, this has received an even greater focus than before as the Government has now made "sustainable feed" a national societal mission. This requires even greater effort and cooperation, and Cargill is prepared to contribute,” Giskegjerde said.

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