June 16, 2016


ADDCON: Leading 'conservation' efforts


When we talk about conservation efforts today, we usually think about the protection of endangered animal species, resource conservation such as waste reduction by consumers, among other things. Similar principles guide German-based ADDCON's business, and in fact, ADDCON stands for ADDitives for CONservation.


by Ngai Meng CHAN


With a growing world population and its ever increasing appetite for animal protein, the ample supply of safe feed is one of the key challenges for the global farming industry. If we think about the investments we have made in seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, tractors and harvestors, not forgetting about electrical power, labour and management, it should be clear that we do not allow all our investments being eating away by yeasts, moulds and bacteria, according to Kurt Wegleitner, managing director of ADDCON.


"The answer to the question whether it is smarter to produce more feed ingredients or to waste less of them should then be an easy one," he quips.


"The company name ADDCON stands for ADDitives for CONservation. And the mantra in ADDCON is "waste less and protect your investment". As such, the history and background of the company can be easily understood."


The company's first product line KOFASIL® was developed to offer European farmers a safe and trustworthy silage additive, and the KOFA® Grain line had been developed to enable farmers to store their grain safely. The third major product line, FORMI®, which is based on a patented diformate technology, was the latest addition to the product portfolio. Separately, the food, de-icing and industrial product lines had been added to the portfolio much later. This diversification was mainly due to acquisitions of additional production sites in Germany and in Norway, allowing the company to venture successfully into those industries.


According to Wegleitner, from a global perspective, there has been a significant change in market demand for silage additives and preservatives. When looking at Europe, such product use has a very long tradition; such usage has not gone up in ADDCON's 'home' markets. Today the company sees the biggest growth in silage and feed preservatives in Asia and in the Americas.


Specifically, ADDCON has coined the concept of "Green Chemistry" in its business approach. Wegleitner elaborates on this concept. "The main hindrance for a product breakthrough was not the lack of effectiveness but its lack of user-friendliness and safety. This is why ADDCON's first product line KOFASIL was based on salts rather than acids. Using salts and double salts offers the same or even better efficacy and they are easier to use and less dangerous for man and machine. The growth in sales is a strong indicator that the industry trusts the Green Chemistry concept.


In the end consumers worldwide are asking for products with less impact on the environment and which are sustainable in all senses of the word, and all of us in the industry must understand that the global markets will be demand and not supply driven."


And as the dairy industry has recently seen, the main concern for silage is not a technical one but a financial one.


Wegleitner recalls: "Besides a few markets in Europe and Asia, the milk price has been below production costs for more than a year right now. There are too many factors which have led to the situation. So, it will take a while until we get back to normal market conditions. The "white gold rush" seems to be over though.


This does not mean that we will withdraw from the market but that we will keep innovating in the field of salt-based silage additives or silage inoculants. Again, we are dedicated to help our clients protect their investments. This is why we have hired Dr. Andreas Milimonka as the technical director for silage and preservation last year. Dr. Milimonka, who is also a professor for grassland and forage at the Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany, is supporting the technical teams globally in this respect."


If one visits ADDCON's website, it is clear that diformate-based products have become very important to the company's feed business.


Comments Wegleitner: "It has been the logical evolution from silage additives and feed preservatives. Today we are selling more diformates outside the EU than within the EU. This might be interesting as the diformates have become an important product in markets where AGPs (antibiotic growth promoters) are still widely used."


The reduction on the use of antibiotic growth promoters has developed from niche to mainstream globally, according to Wegleitner. "I think with the FORMI product line we have the right solution to address this issue. FORMI has been trusted by the industry for more than 15 years – with the most reliable results.


We are now expanding the FORMI product line. Very soon we will launch products that can help control both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. The first industry trials in Europe have been extremely successful. So we are very positive about launching the new product or products during the Eurotier in November."


Wegleitner also notes that there are changes in the usage and expectations of both silage and feed preservatives. One the one hand, he sees a trend in the higher usage of preservatives where price is the main driver, but on the other, he sees "ease of use" as a motive, when granular but more costlier products are being used.


"As a rule of thumb we see that the smaller the farm or feed mill, the more the second motive counts. For all markets efficacy is of course the main consideration," he points out.


This brings the reader to the discussion on how ADDCON's before and after sales services bring benefits to its customers.


"At the last Eurotier we have presented the ADDCON AS (an application system) which allows our customers to use our preservatives in the most effective way. Recently we have also developed, together with our partners, a device for applying feedmill hygiene products at very low dosages. This is an interesting challenge from a technological aspect and from an industrial aspect as we need to bring our partners from different industries and countries together. This is where the concept of "think global, act local" can be a challenge at times.


In addition we have started to train our partners and customers at the "ADDCON Silage Academies". In two to three-day workshops we train the participants at a theoretical level about facts and figures, and we demonstrate practical applications of our product range. This, we believe, together with the exchange of knowledge and experience, will help boost the speed of information transfer," Wegleitner elaborates.

Today, ADDCON's feed division accounts for almost half of the company's sales. As to growth, the company is looking back to some exciting years.


"On a global level we have been doubled sales in the last five years and we are planning for the same growth for the coming five years," Wegleitner reveals.


He further admits that ADDCON's biggest markets for preservatives are currently in Europe. However, with a growing world population and its ever increasing appetite for animal protein, the supply of enough safe feed is a main challenge for the industry, and he sees stable growth for the company in all regions around the globe.


Specifically, China is an interesting and challenging market for all the company's feed products. After taking over its distributor in Dalian last year, it has now set up an ADDCON team and has established an extensive distributor network for almost all provinces in the country. "By now we have also established a loyal customer base all over the country. Lately, one of the biggest swine producer has started using FORMI regularly in their piglet diets, and we are all very proud of this breakthrough," remarks Wegleitner.


"We are focusing on production at our three sites in Germany and in Norway. This is important from a supply and from a quality control point of view. And we still have enough land to keep growing at the existing production sites.


We are upgrading one of our production lines, where the final output of some 15,000 tonnes of calcium propionate (an acidifier) for our feed and food markets will make us one of the leading suppliers in this product group," Wegleitner highlights.


According to him, the company has some very exciting products and technologies in the pipeline.


"Of course we cannot speak about them now but only when they are ready for the market. The latest additions in our portfolio have been targeting feedmills. We have developed ADDCON XF Superfine, a salt-based powder of less than 300 micrometres in particle size, which is the first dry mould inhibitor of its kind with no carrier being used. The other innovation which is being launched right now is ADDCON FH, for feedmill hygiene, which is a unique and powerful liquid mould inhibitor."
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