Volac advancing biotechnology in Wales

Volac’s £5m state of the art silage additive fermentation and freeze drying plant together with accompanying R&D laboratories were officially opened on Wednesday 2 December at Port Talbot by the Deputy Minister, Rebecca Evans AM.

The new facilities will enable the company to not only continue producing silage additives using its unique fermentation process but also to develop new progressive strains to help farmers reduce costs, improve their efficiency and enhance sustainability. The site operates within FAMI-QS certification to ensure compliance with the Feed Hygiene Regulation.

In addition to supplying the UK market, the plant will enable Volac to continue trading with its existing USA marketplace and create new export opportunities including emerging markets in China, New Zealand, South America and Russia. In turn it will secure the company’s current positioning among the five forage additive leaders in the global marketplace, currently valued at $300m.

Furthermore, Volac plans to collaborate locally and globally with biotech research institutes and university faculties and ultimately create a centre of biotech excellence in Wales which will be globally renowned.

Volac’s Derek Nelson explained: “Our silage additives already offer farmers the opportunity to reduce dry matter losses, improve fermentation and animal performance together with maximum aerobic stability at feed-out – providing a minimum of 3:1 return on investment. We are pleased to launch this new facility to ensure that we are able to supply the marketplace, particularly at a time when farmers are seeking to optimise their forage production.

“The state of the art fermentation and freeze drying plant provides a continuous fermentation process for our unique and market leading silage additive MTD/1; it will ensure bacteria are harvested at the optimum time of growth phase to maximise their effectiveness on forage.

“The new R&D laboratory is equipped with the latest microbiological and molecular biology capabilities to identify new bacterial strains which ultimately will make consistently better silage. Our researchers will have the opportunity to understand how these strains offer animal performance benefits and also to isolate and develop new strains to enable all livestock farmers improve their efficiency.”

He adds: “Whilst we create new export opportunities, we also look forward to encouraging collaborative relationships with researchers in Wales and universities worldwide, as we develop the Port Talbot facility as a site of global biotech excellence.”

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