October 8, 2008
GRDC's The Crop Doctor
Aquaculture continues to develop
as an important market for Australian lupins, with attention now
turning to the Southeast Asia.
While the international salmon feed sector was an important
breakthrough market for lupins, research is now focussing on
Southeast Asian fish species such as tilapia and catfish.
Years of research work on digestibility by the Aquaculture Feed
Grains Program (AFGP), an initiative of the
Grains Research and
Development Corporation (GRDC), established the first NIRS
calibrations for digestible protein and energy for fish diets.
It’s important work for the aquaculture industry because it
reduces the industry’s risk of being too dependent on fish oil
and fish meal in its feeds.
According to Dr Brett Glencross of the WA Department of
Fisheries, lupins have proved a highly nutritious source of
protein and energy, with few nutritional problems.
Some fish species use plant proteins almost as effectively as
fish-based proteins and, in some cases, diets including lupin
meal have out-performed fishmeal controls and diets based on
The commercial sector has played a vital role in developing
Australia’s export market for aquafeed, with market technical
tours to Japan, Thailand, Norway, Denmark, Scotland and Chile
conducted in the past four years.
Fish feed manufacturer Skretting Australia pioneered using
lupins in fish feed, which spurred interest by companies such as
Ridleys, BioMar and EWOS.
Commercialisation was boosted with the commissioning of the
world’s largest dehulling plant in Forrestfield, a joint venture
between CBH and George Weston Foods, which can process 200,000
tonnes a year of lupins to kernel meal. Dehulling improves
nutrient value and protein and energy digestibility.
Speaking at the recent GRDC supported 12th International Lupin
Conference in Fremantle, Dr Glencross said yellow lupins had a
very promising future in aquaculture, but a breakthrough in
yield was necessary to supply the significant volumes needed for
a viable industry sector.
He added that further work was needed to maintain and improve
lupin quality and to understand the chemical and physical
factors of digestibility.
This, in turn, would make nutritional values more predictable
before the raw material became feed.
The world’s wild fish catch has reached its limit and
aquaculture is an increasingly important food source.
Global production in 2006 was 45 million tonnes and is growing
at nine per cent a year - the world’s fastest growing food
The Crop Doctor is
GRDC Managing Director,