Pelagia AS is a Norwegian owned producer of pelagic fish products for human consumption and an important supplier of essential ingredients in all kinds of fish and animal feed, protein concentrate and fish oil.
The company also produces concentrated marine based omega-3 fatty acids for dietary supplement and pharmaceutical preparations. In the last few months they have moved into the plant health market.
...its processing plant in Bressay on the Shetland Isles expanded its operations and obtained a licence to utilise the by-products from Scottish salmon farms with the aim of zero waste from the industry. While most of the bi-products from the industry are processed into animal feed, some quite clearly, are not suitable for animal feed.
Normally in the UK this would mean the waste products used as a feedstock for anaerobic digesters. While this would ultimately end spread on fields, it would be diluted by the other stock feeds in the digester. Consequently, for the last three years Geraldine Fox and her team at Pelagia have been working on developing a product that retains the integrity of the rich source of essential amino acids, fats, macro and micronutrients contained in a hydrolysate that can be easily incorporated into many formulations. This meant that the fish waste was reduced to three components: water fish oil and individual amino acids. The amino acids are used for soil improvement and the fish oil is used for bio-fuel at the Pelagia plants.
Sea2Soil is born.
The result of all this is Sea2Soil, the UK’s first liquid fish hydrolysate approved by the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) and the Soil Association. Sea2Soil acts by feeding the soil bacteria, which in turn converts the macro and micro-nutrients contained in the soil into a form that is more readily available to plants. Sea2Soil, which is naturally high in fat, also promotes the growth of fungi, which are hugely important in soil root systems, performing important functions within the soil in relation to nutrient cycling, disease suppression and water dynamics. The improved microbial populations also feed secondary and higher-level consumers like protozoa, nematodes, and earthworms, which work to improve soil structure by aerating the soil leading to better root development and reduction in abiotic stress. These macro-organisms also contribute to improved nutrient availability within the soil through excretion providing additional bioavailable nutrients to the growing plant. The product has also been refined down enough from all the products to be able to pass through the filters and pumps on the sprayers.
Farm trials began in 2020 across various locations within the UK and on various crop types such as wheat, barley, oilseed rape, oats and beans. The aim was to identify how and if yield performance was affected and to identify any areas of further product development. Yield was either maintained or showed an increase, but what the results highlighted was that return on investment was higher, due to the reduction of chemical inputs.
Sea2Soil also had to gain approval from the APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency, due to the fact it is made out of fish bi-products and so not suitable for animal or human feed. As a result of this certain restrictions were placed on the label before a licence was granted. For example as the product is not edible it cannot be used on cereals after the flag leaf has emerged. It also cannot be used on any crop less than 21 days before harvest. Equally as important it has also gained approval from the Soil Association which allows use on organic enterprises.
Liz Brown of Pelagia said:
“After several years of trials and refining the product and getting approval from the appropriate authorities we launched the it at the beginning of January this year. Already there seems to be a great deal of interest, especially from the farmers who had taken part in the trials. They are reporting considerable improvements in plant health leading to a reduction in fungicide and pesticide inputs. Over the years modern farming with chemicals etc has seen destruction soil health and erosion of topsoil to the detriment of our crops. Sea2SoilSea2Soil can positively contribute to the recovery of soil health, by improving soil biology and soil microbial populations, hastening the restoration of our topsoil and improving overall plant health.”Liz Brown
Managing Director @ Sea2Soil
Positive feedback for Sea2Soil
Paul Davey is a seventh generation farmer and conservation agricultural contractor. The farm specialises in growing cereals, oilseeds, grass seed and pulses including vining peas for Birds Eye. A flock of Lleyn ewes is run in conjunction with the arable enterprise and the farm pursues a strategy of using healthy soils to produce healthy plants and thus healthy food.
Mr Davey has seen first hand the positive effects of our product:
“The dry conditions this last spring and summer presented challenges in a number of different crops, especially maintaining plant nutrition and managing the associated stresses. There were visible benefits for maintaining growth in the herbal ley established in May which received a 10 lt/ha of Sea2Soil application through fertiliser streamer nozzles in June. This application stimulated a good deal of growth within three weeks in a very dry time. Two applications of 10 lt/ha of Sea2Soil on the spring beans during the same dry spell improved the canopy growth of the beans and removed the chlorotic symptoms of stress, significantly improving the verdancy of the plants.”Paul Davey
Grisby Grange - Arable Innovator of the Year 2021, Silver