For more than 15 years the ALITEC brand has been the leading brand in fresh water feed in Chile. While most other feed suppliers in the mid-nineties concentrated on feed for the in terms of volume more important sea water stage, the then relatively small Chilean feed producer ALITEC went against the current and developed a feed specially adopted for the nutritional needs of the salmonids during the fresh water stage – a feed programme, which has been continuously developed ever since. When BioMar bought Provimi Aqua in 2008 it also bought this Chilean success story.
Until 1994, fresh water feeds had no clear differentiation from the feed types used in the sea water stage and Chilean feed companies were mainly crumbling big pellets into small pieces for small fish instead of producing specific products according to the specific nutritional needs of the fish in the early life stages.
At that time the total market for fresh water feed products in Chile bordered 3,200 tons annually - just a fraction of the market today - and the fish feed industry was in the middle of the shift from pelletized to extruded feeds. In general there was a shortfall in feed production capacity for a market that was growing at rates of over 25 % annually.
Due to that, fresh water producers were often neglected by their suppliers, who preferred to focus their research and development as well as manufacturing investments in feed for the sea water stage, which offered 20 times the total volume of fresh water.
That was particularly evident every year around the end of the year, when the higher product demand coming from Coho salmon production made the feed companies focus their capacity on deliveries to sea water sites, which were prioritised over fresh water farms.
In ALITEC we detected this problem and became the first to focus research, services, and products into the fresh water feed market. And with our customers as partners, we developed a set of solutions that were transformed into the foundation of what is today the most successful fresh water feed line in Chile.
After 1995 began a rapid development, covering all aspects of fresh water fish production. From the standpoint of feed, the strategy has been to develop specific feeds for every production situation.
The close relationship that we have with our clients has over the years allowed us to identify the specific needs of each production situation and continuously suggest innovative solutions. In this way our company became the:
- first introducing a line of pelletized feed, tailored to the specific requirements of the freshwater stage, and after that:
- first launching an extruded diet for fresh water in 1994,
- first producing pellets in 1.5 mm size in 1995
- first launching a specific diet for delayed cycles in 1998,
- first launching a floating diet for land based farms in 2000,
- first launching a diet designed for use in recirculation systems in 2001
- first producing pellets in sizes below 0.8 mm in 2002.
- first producing 0.5 and 0.3 mm in 2004
- first developing spherized products in 2007
This ability to innovate has allowed us to maintain leadership in the fresh water segment continuously for the past 15 years.
Feed solutions adapted to production technology
In the area of farm production technology, progress has also been rapid. In the nineties most of the smolts, after the fry stage that they passed in very rustic farm buildings, were transferred to sites in the lakes and lagoons. This made it impossible to manage the environmental parameters and consequently productive results were unpredictable.
At the end of the last decade started a migration from the lakes to land based production sites. With the introduction of the use of oxygen in land based farms stocking density were increased and at the same time farm management was improved through the introduction of control of growth rates, feed conversion, and mortalities.
Then the implementation of large-scale ponds came. This allowed producing land based cycles ending at smoltificación, giving the possibility to transfer vaccinated fish to on-growing sea sites.
Today recirculation sites are the standard in Chilean fish farming as these systems allows for better control of environmental variables and health and thereby enable businesses to increase the number of annual production cycles and schedule the exact dates and output weights. Under the ALITEC brand BioMar offers feed solutions specifically developed to recirculation systems.
Ready for the future
In future, new challenges are seen in areas such as environmental pressure, improved cost control, the need to expand fish production into more distant geographical areas, the availability of effective and safe therapeutic solutions, and fully programmed production cycles.
We are confident that by continuing the close collaboration with our customers in the fresh water sector these challenges will be overcome. BioMar will be leading the new developments for fresh water requirements keeping the leadership we have kept the last 15 years and continuing to assist our customers on their future needs.
For more information about the ALITEC feed line and BioMar Chile please visit www.biomar.com/chile