US fish feed producer, Prairie AquaTech, is scaling up its operations from pilot level by building a new US$60M soyabean processing facility.

To be located in Volga, South Dakota, the facility would initially process around 45,000 tonnes of soyabean meal – purchased from South Dakota Soybean Processors (SDSP) – to turn into a fish feed ingredient, the company said in a statement.

Having broken ground at the site on 1 May, Prairie estimates that the new plant will produce around 27,000 tonnes/year of soyabean-based protein that would go into fish feed pellets, together with oils, minerals and vitamins.

Prairie CEO and managing director Mark Luecke said the company would scale up its current 9,000 litre tanks, in which it fermented soyabean meal, to 181,800 litre ones.

“We buy soyabean meal from SDSP in Volga. They have a plant down in Miller that produces non-GMO meal. We ferment that and we also have a small feed mill on site. That allows us to take our ingredients and mix them with other ingredients and pelletise that into a fish feed.”

Luecke added that the plant would drive up demand for soyabean meal from SDSP, which currently produced roughly 635,000 tonnes/year of meal.