Feed trials in Australia

Performing feed trials is a fundamental part of BioMar and essential for optimising our current diets and developing new ones. In Australia, BioMar have partnered with Huon Aquaculture to use the only dedicated sea-based fish feed trial facility located at Huon Aquaculture’s Hideaway Bay facility.

Feed trials allow BioMar Australia, Huon Aquaculture and other primary stakeholders to perform R&D into aquafeed in a commercial setting. Feed trials at this facility use fish from the current year class of farmed salmon and are undertaken near other farming sites, allowing us to best simulate the unique farming conditions of Tasmania. This is especially important in Tasmania, due to Tasmanian salmon possessing unique genetics and farming conditions in comparison to other major farming countries such as Norway and Chile.

BioMar use the trial facility for the following research goals and objectives:

  • Improve Product Performance.

  • Improve fish health.

  • Improve our feeds sustainability profile.

  • Recipe optimisation.

  • Test new raw materials.

Feed cost often account for the largest production cost in aquaculture, which is why feed performance is a major competitive parameter for BioMar. Feed trials allow BioMar to benchmark diets against each other and identify what formulations work best in Australian farming conditions. To measure performance BioMar typically examine Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR), Specific Feed Rate (SFR), Specific Growth Rate (SGR) and Condition Factor. These metrics look at relationships between feed and growth and examine fish health, informing us how much feed the fish need to eat to attain their end weight, how much (relatively) they have grown over the trial period and how this changes their body shape compared to length.

In addition to measuring performance metrics, feed trials also allow us to test new raw materials and optimise our feeds formulations. Testing new, sustainable novel ingredients in commercial setting give us the opportunity to identify any unforeseen effects before implementing them into our recipes. We can also adjust feed formulation based on what we believe is working best for the fish, maximising benefits to fish health, human health and our feeds sustainability profile.

Feed trials are important for sustainable development of Australian aquaculture. Together, with partners like Huon Aquaculture, we can conduct R&D and collect data needed to optimise our feeds performance, fish and human health benefits, raw material combinations and sustainability profile for Australia.