Harbro International to spearhead global demand for innovative animal feed products from Scotland

Scotland’s leading animal feed business is setting its sights on the global market with the launch of Harbro International, a specialist export division for its innovative range of high tech nutrition products which is already well established in the UK.

With support from Scottish Development International, the creation of Harbro International is the first step in the company’s long-term strategy to develop Harbro as a global brand in major livestock producing countries.

To help spearhead its export drive, a customer relations manager and additional sales staff with strong proven experience in export markets will be recruited.

Harbro already has a distribution network in a number of countries, including Ireland, France, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the USA.

“We see considerable scope for expansion in those countries and are fielding enquiries on an almost daily basis from Canada, Australia, South Africa, China, the Far East and other countries in Europe.” said managing director Graham Baxter.

The company’s continued expansion in the UK, where it has a turnover of more than £100 million, is based on scientific research and the development of innovative products to help farmers improve the health and performance of their livestock.

“Export sales have doubled over the past year and we need to gear up for substantial growth in the future,” said Mr Baxter. “Our move into Ireland has proved highly successful and is now being replicated in France and other countries.”

Harbro – now employing more than 400 staff – manufactures animal feeds at four UK plants, including compound feed mills at Inverness and Birkhill, Lanarkshire and provides a mobile on-farm feed mixing service through subsidiary company, Feedmix, covering most of the UK.

Mineral licks and feed buckets are produced by subsidiary company, Strathclyde Nutrition, at Birkhill. Harbro Country Stores – 18 in total located from Shetland to the Borders – retail a range of products, including feed and medicines for livestock, equine and pets, clothing and hardware.

The company’s success since its launch at Turriff, Aberdeenshire, in 1977 has been based on innovative, performance-led nutrition supported by unrivalled on-farm nutritional services and technical support.

A focus on research and development with leading research institutes and farm trials has produced a continuing stream of new products to improve animal performance and the profitability of farmers’ livestock enterprises.

The export drive will be led by products unique to Harbro – the alkaline wholecrop and grain preservative, Maxammon and the feed supplement, Rumitech.

“Maxammon, which was the highest placed feed product in the AgriScot awards for innovative new products in 2011, is the real game changer for Harbro. We see an expanding market in countries where cattle are finished extensively on cereals as the product acts to reduce rumen acidosis which can be a major problem with cattle fed on a high cereal inclusion diet,” said Harbro Group director, Stephen Kenyon.

“Maxammon can treat moist or dry grain and with a 30% increase in protein, it is easy to see how the product has been successful.

“Of 130,000 tonnes being treated in Europe, more than 50,000 tonnes of grain in Ireland is now treated with Maxammon from a standing start two years ago and a similar trend is emerging in France.”

Rumitech offers improved feed conversion efficiency as well as the environmental advantage of reducing loss of greenhouse gas (methane) from the rumen. The efficiency of converting feed into beef is an important economic factor for beef producers and on-farm trials have demonstrated that cattle will consume 1.5kg less feed per animal per day without any loss of weight gain when Rumitech is added to the diet, representing a saving of 10% in feed costs. Similar efficiencies have been found in dairy cattle, leading to improved yields and fertility.

Harbro is also achieving success in the export market, particularly to USA, with the bedding conditioner, Biosuper, which added to the bedding of livestock, acts to absorb moisture, lower pH and control bacteria. It has been shown to dramatically reduce the incidence of mastitis in dairy herds, which can costs farmers as much as £250-£300 per cow in treatment costs and lost production of up to 40%.

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