NORWAY– Cargill, a leading global agribusiness player, has taken a significant step in its commitment to sustainable aquaculture with a NOK 15 million (US$1.36 million) investment in its Innovation Center in Dirdal, Norway. 

The expansion of this facility, one of two Cargill research locations, has tripled its capacity for conducting field trials on salmon feed, contributing to a national focus on sustainable and environmentally responsible aquaculture practices.

The expansion of the Dirdal Innovation Center includes the addition of eight new cages, increasing the total from 4 to 12 cages. This expansion is approved to raise the biomass ceiling from 910 tonnes to 1,400 tonnes. 

While the total allowed biomass for both research sites remains at 1,560 tonnes, this increase in capacity offers a higher level of flexibility for conducting feed and feeding trials, facilitating more advanced experimentation.

Terje Utne, responsible for Cargill Aqua Nutrition’s field trials in Norway, highlighted the significance of this expansion, stating, “We now have the opportunity to carry out nutritional trials at almost full scale with up to four different feeds simultaneously. This enables more advanced experimental design and a much-improved scientific outcome compared to field trials comparing one test diet to a reference diet. We don’t necessarily get to carry out more trials, but the information from the trials we carry out becomes much more valuable.”

This enhanced capacity allows researchers to explore the extremes of salmon feed nutrition, providing a better starting point for adapting feeds to variations in raw material prices, raw material availability, salmon prices, customer preferences, and more.

Kjetil Frafjord, responsible for the day-to-day operations at the Dirdal facility, anticipates a positive impact on fish health and welfare. The expansion increases the surface area from 2,300 square meters to 30,000 square meters, with two nearly identical facilities and 24 cages, making it easier to standardize operations.

According to, Tor Andre Giskegjerde, the Research and Development Operation Director for Cargill, the agribusiness giant aligns with the Norwegian government’s commitment to sustainable feed as a national goal. 

The Cargill Innovation Center in Dirdal puts a lot of effort into the development of feed with stable and high performance produced from safe raw materials. With state-of-the-art facilities and world-class researchers, the innovation center in Dirdal lays the foundation for Cargill to offer its customers advice and fish feed of the highest class,” he commented.

Field trials are the last step in the development to contribute to new and more sustainable feed for aquaculture in Norway, and Cargill’s investment in expanding its Dirdal Innovation Center is a testament to the company’s commitment to the sustainable development of aquaculture practices and the production of high-quality salmon feed. 

With advanced facilities and dedicated research, Cargill is poised to play a pivotal role in the development of more environmentally responsible feed for Norway’s growing aquaculture industry.