Norvite, the animal feed manufacturer based in Aberdeen, has invested in a processing plant to convert oilseed rape into oil and protein meal feed ingredients. The venture will also provide a sustainable market outlet for locally grown oilseed rape.
The company has invested more than £600,000 in installing the Norvite Expeller Oil Seeds (NEOS) plant at its existing feed blending site at South Blackbog, Oldmeldrum in Aberdeenshire. The facility has the annual capacity to crush some 12,000 tonnes of locally sourced oilseed rape to produce cold pressed oil and meal. However, Norvite managing director Edward Smith initially expects to crush around 4,000 tonnes per year, resulting in 2,600 tonnes of protein rich meal and 1,400 tonnes (or 1.28 million litres) of oil.
The oil, after filtering to a grade equivalent to ‘extra virgin’, will be marketed under the Neoflo brand as a high energy ingredient for livestock diets. He believes the oil has a large potential market as an energy source in monogastric feeds - liquid vegetable oil comprises some 2% of all the pig and poultry feed used in Scotland. “At present, this is either soya oil imported from the Americas or palm oil from South East Asia, with all the inherent haulage and environmental cost entailed,” he notes.
The protein-rich meal, branded Neopro, will be blended into Norvite feed products on site, particularly the company’s selection of standard Beef and Sheep Prime Blends and also used at Norvite’s Low Carston Blending Plant in Ayrshire. To ensure consistency of products Norvite operates a policy of fixed formulations, however, the change from winter to summer rations has provided an opportunity to formulate Neopro into these Blends.
Norvite will also use Neopro in its Protein Concentrates range and will make it available to home mix customers, mainly in the dairy and pig sectors. The vast majority of the cluster of northern Scotland pig farmers home mix their feeds, with Norvite itself operating two mobile mill and mix machines.
“We are really excited about this new venture,” says Mr Smith. “It is good news for the local agricultural industry - both the people who feed animals and those who grow crops. It will provide an outlet for oilseed rape which previously didn’t exist - potentially we could process up to 30% of the crop grown in the North East.”
Mr Smith adds that North East Scotland harvest 40-45,000 tonnes of oilseed rape annually, with South Blackbog situated in the heart of this oilseed rape growing area, so ideally positioned to utilise the locally-grown crop with minimal environmental impact. At present, he notes, the entire local crop is shipped by boat from north-east ports for processing - either to Kent, Rotterdam or Hamburg.
“Producing feed ingredients in exactly the same premises as they will be used to make blends is a great fit from a business point of view. It is cost effective and has a low carbon footprint. Here in Scotland we have a tradition of producing quality livestock - we will be able to offer these livestock producers a local supply of top quality animal protein with a known, local provenance,” he concludes.
“Norvite is a strong and well-managed business with ambitious growth plans,” adds Ian Grant, relationship manager at Clydesdale Bank’s Business and Private Banking Centre in Aberdeen, which provided a six figure finance package for the investment. “The company’s new rapeseed oil plant is a great boost for the agricultural sector in the north-east, as it will produce more environmentally-friendly feed and has the potential to generate new jobs.”