Cod farming: possible to greatly reduce feed costs

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It is possible to reduce feed costs in cod farming significantly with a new composition of feed, according to research by Matís and partners. The results of research show that the cost of feed for farmed cod can be reduced by at least. 25%, which means a 12-15% reduction in production costs in cod farming. The results of the research have already been used in part in feed production at Laxá hf and are an important step towards making cod farming even more profitable.

In recent years, Matís' aquaculture department has worked with Fóðurverksmiðjan Laxá, Hólaskóli and other partners on research into feed for cod with the aim of reducing feed costs. The company has, among other things, received grants for the projects from the AVS research fund in the fisheries sector. Norway has been a leader in the production of feed for aquaculture, but at a recent cod farming conference held in Norway it was stated that limited development of feed for cod seems to be taking place in that country and as a result no conditions have been created to reduce cod feed prices.

13% reduction of feed costs in cod farming

The results of the experiments in Iceland show, among other things, that it is possible to use a lower proportion of protein in the feed than previously thought, without this affecting the growth of the fish. Most of the protein in the feed comes from high-quality fishmeal and the high price of fishmeal has led to a rise in the price of fish feed and the performance of aquaculture companies has deteriorated. The experiments show that it is possible to replace part of the fishmeal in the feed with cheaper proteins from the plant kingdom and thus lower the feed price even further.

IFL's aquaculture farms in the Westfjords

It was previously thought that the fat content of cod feed should not be higher than 10-15% than the results of experiments on 500-1000 gr. cod, which tested fat in feed in the range of 10 - 26%, showed that it is possible to increase the fat content to 26% without affecting the growth and quality of the fish. Fears that increased fat in the feed would result in abnormally large livers also proved unfounded, as livers ranged in weight from 8.8 to 10.8%, which is comparable to that found in well-kept wild cod. Experiments on smaller cod (about 50 gr. Fry) are starting and the results are expected in June this year.

Based on current raw material prices and based on the results, the cost of raw materials in cod feed can be reduced by 21% (cod fry) and 32% (larger cod). On average, it is therefore possible to reduce raw material costs by at least. 25% which means a 13% reduction in feed costs in cod farming.