How to measure the value of Fishmeal Feed

15th February 2022

There’s no surprise really to say that the aquaculture industry is growing at a rapid rate, the demand for good quality aqua-feed is increasing every day. However, the challenges that people in aquaculture are dealing with today is to feed a growing number of farmed fish with a limited supply of fishmeal. There is an urgent call for alternatives to fishmeal according to British Aqua Feeds

In different categories however, we have hemoglobin, blood meal and poultry meal as animal by-products, and we also have sunflower meal, wheat protein, soy products, as vegetable protein sources. Famous to British Animal Feeds and British Aqua Feeds, we have the black solider fly meal. None of the most farmed fish have a specific need for a raw material in its diet, however they do have requirements for essential nutrients. To be exact, they need digestible protein, as they need energy as fat. They also need vitamins, and available minerals. 

Measuring the Alternatives

In measuring the alternatives to fishmeal, British Animal Feeds uses four pillars: Palatability, performance, pollution control and planet. Then we quantify and measure all these pillars, all the metrics, and put them in a software system, we can make the best combination of our alternative protein sources in combination with the fishmeal at the lowest price for the best quality. Palatability is the most important quality because if the food is not eaten by the fish, there is no performance and pollution control, which is very bad. However, by quantifying the net energy of different raw materials, they can be compared for the best performance.  

Energy is the driver of Growth

Performance is also something that many quantified, and quantifying performance is very complicated because we must consider the protein level, the vitamins, and the minerals. But, to keep it simple to explain, the energy is the driver of growth. So, if we increase the energy level, the feed conversion goes down and the growth of the animal increases. Pollution control is the most complicated of the four pillars, because there are a lot of interactions. If feed is not eaten by the fish, it is polluting the water. The excretion of ammonia, nitrogen and phosphorus can contribute to pollution. Additionally, the fat content in feed can also pollute the water as well. It’s becoming important that we quantify the effect of each product, raw materials, and fishmeal alternatives to improve the environmental impact. This can be done by using a life cycle assessment of each specific raw material.

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