WA lupin growers could dominate the world aquafeeds market if they start producing and selling premium varieties of lupin.
That was the message from Fisheries Department aquaculture nutrition manager Brett Glencross at last weekís Grains West Expo.
Mr Glencross heads the Aquaculture Feed Grains Program (AFGP), which is a joint project between CLIMA, Fisheries Department, Agriculture Department and Chemistry Centre, with funding from GRDC and three industrial partners.
He said while WA provides 80pc of the worldís lupin products, farmers could value-add by producing premium variety lupins for premium aquafeed markets.
Aquafeeds are products used for fish food in aquaculture. Lupins are especially effective in salmon diets.
Australian aquaculture is worth $800 million annually with Australia only one per cent of the world aquaculture industry. Chile and Norway are the premier salmon producing nations with China and Vietnam the nations with the biggest general aquaculture industries.
Mr Glencross said lupin kernel meal was a preferred aquafeed because they were well digested, high in digestible protein, durable and fish liked the taste of lupin meal.
ìThere was 24,000 tonnes of WA lupin kernel meal in fish diets around the world in 2004,î he said.
ìAnd research shows this figure will increase by 20pc in 2005.î
Mr Glencross said the Walan2173 variety was proving successful in fish trials, but was yet to be released by the Agriculture Department.
He said Norwegians were buying lupins with 36pc protein at the same price as soybeans with 48pc protein.
ìThis is because lupin meal has significantly more benefits in terms of the properties the kernel pellets possess and give to the fish.
ìLupin meal is 100pc digestible for fish compared to 80pc for soybeans.î
Growers needed to be aware of what the fish industry wanted from their lupin product and the AFGP was helping to identify those traits.
ìThe end goal of the AFGP is to facilitate the development of premium aquaculture markets for lupins,î Mr Glencross said.
Irwin Valley Pty Ltd is a cooperative of lupin growers from the Mingenew and Irwin areas who are looking to add value to their lupin products.
Board member Wayne Obst recently attended the World Trade Expo in Japan to research possible markets for lupin products.
ìI was buoyed by the responses I had at the trade expo,î he said.
ìNo decisions have been made yet but we are certainly interested in further de3veloping markets for lupins for our members.î