Prime & Express: maximising growth, minimising production time

Prime & Express salmon illustration

Launching globally from 2017, Skretting’s groundbreaking new Prime and Express diets utilise the full growth potential of salmon, providing farmers with the means to further enhance their operations.

Over the course of the past three decades, Skretting Aquaculture Research Centre (ARC) has conducted pioneering research into the functionality of the different nutrients in fish and shrimp feeds. There are a number of stimuli that influence feeding, including taste and hunger. Skretting ARC has successfully found ways to positively influence both of these factors in salmon, thereby enabling the fish to eat more and digest the feed more efficiently.

“This unique body of work has provided the platform for Prime and Express – our two new grower diets that are explicitly designed to stimulate and enhance the appetite and food intake of salmon,” says Sissel Susort, Global Product Group Manager for Skretting. “They work in tandem to facilitate the best possible growth of the fish at two crucial growth stages, with Prime optimising consumption at the first seawater growth phase of the production cycle – up to 1 kilogram; Express takes over in the final grow-out phase – taking the salmon right through to harvest.”

Foundations for growth

Prime and Express expand Skretting’s salmon diet offering, providing greater flexibility to fish farmers and the broader seafood supply chain.

With the new grower diets, an organ system approach was followed with the aim to redesign growth from a complete perspective. The result was two distinct products – each tailored to the physiological requirements of the fish at different life stages. Prime prepares, or primes, the fish, building a solid foundation to support fast, high-quality growth. Express builds on the framework created by Prime, maximising the speed of growth by enabling the fish to fully utilise the potential in the feed. This means that the feed can go through the digestive process much faster.

“Good growth in the first phase in seawater should support the recruitment of new muscle fibres and a healthy bone deposition. In the later seawater phase that leads to harvest, growth occurs primarily by enlargement of the existing muscle fibres and by deposition of fat. Growth at this final stage is only as good as the foundation that we lay in the first phase. With Prime and Express, we are supporting fast growth while giving the salmon everything that they need to support the right type of growth,” explains Christian De Santis, Researcher at Skretting ARC.

Digestive and energy efficiency

The new feeds are built around an understanding of the digestive physiology of the fish, providing them with a solution that can be broken down and processed much faster than conventional diets.

“This means that food stays in the stomach for a shorter period of time. And if the stomach empties faster, the fish will be ready to consume again sooner,” says De Santis.

Grower feeds typically contain high levels of fat. Salmon will digest and absorb this fat and deposit it in the fillet. However, processing a high-fat feed can be challenging to the fish’s digestive system. Express is designed to enable salmon to take up the fat from the feed much more proficiently.

“Validation trials conducted with Express showed that it significantly reduced the accumulation of fat in the intestinal cells, suggesting a far more effective absorption of fat,” says De Santis.

“In collaboration with a customer, Skretting compared the growth characteristics and feed conversion of Express with several other commercially available grower feeds. Using Express, the customer is reporting extremely good growth and the lowest FCR in class,” confirms Susort.

Faster production OR bigger fish?

Thanks to Skretting ARC’s focus on optimising appetite, feed intake and digestion, Prime and Express will together enable salmon farmers to potentially reduce their production time by as much as four weeks. Alternatively, if they wish to maintain their current production timescales, then the slaughter weight can be increased by up to 700 grams.

“Fast growth or fast to harvest is the single most important aspect in salmon aquaculture since this reduces operating costs and also reduces the associated risks of farming fish in open ocean locations,” says Susort.

“Together, Prime and Express are a game-changing solution that will provide our customers with the increased flexibility to do what’s best for their production system without taking any shortcuts or unnecessary risks. Whether they choose to reduce the production time or to provide the market with larger salmon, there are considerable benefits from either action,” she says.

Prime and Express will be launched gradually to all major salmon markets with timings and availability communicated locally to all customers and partners.

About prime

about express

Stories on salmon

Prime & Express salmon illustration
10 August 2017

Prime & Express: maximising growth, minimising production time

Launching globally from 2017, Skretting’s groundbreaking new Prime and Express diets utilise the full growth potential of salmon, providing farmers with the means to further enhance their operations.

Read the article
Salmon filets
21 December 2015

A head start for salmon smolt pigmentation

To help the fish that they put into open seawater sites achieve optimum growth, performance and health, many Atlantic salmon producers around the world have in recent years elected to extend the period that juveniles spend in the freshwater phase of grow-out.

Read the article