Fibre company celebrates 30 years

Reporoa fibre nutrition company, Fiber Fresh Feeds, is celebrating 30 years in business by giving away nearly 10 tonne of feed to horse riders at one of the country’s biggest equine events.

As the naming right sponsor of the Fiber Fresh Taupo Christmas Classic from December 18-21, the company is giving a free bag of feed to each of the 450 riders at the event.

Fiber Fresh founding director Michael Bell stands in one of the company’s Lucerne fields.

It is New Zealand’s second largest equestrian event behind Horse of the Year and the largest event by horse number in the Southern Hemisphere.

Based in Reporoa, the company’s founding director Michael Bell began by growing alfalfa (Lucerne) and making hay for race horses to supplement his sheep and beef farming operation more than 30 years ago. Realising that by drying the product to make hay much of the important nutritional value was being lost, Michael began experimenting to find a better way to preserve the goodness in the feed.

Thirty years on, and after plenty of innovation, mistakes, research and development, refining and refining some more, Fiber Fresh is the largest exporter of horse and calf feed in the country. Fiber Fresh now has offices in Japan and Dubai, and is the only high nutritional fibre feed company of its kind in the world.

“The vision and end game came first – that was, to have a global company and change the traditional approach to feeding horses around the world. The difficult part was forging the road to get there. We’ve made nearly every mistake possible, but the product has pulled us through because it got results – more than we ever realised at first,” says Michael.

Since the early days, Fiber Fresh has worked alongside scientific institutes and conducted multiple trials in order to support its claims that controlled fermentation, the process by which the nutrition is maintained, is the best possible feed for both horses and calves, and can offer medicinal benefits that improve the gastrointestinal health of the animal.

Today, each and every one of its claims is backed up by scientific evidence with Fiber Fresh working closely with the likes of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Callaghan Innovations, Massey University and Ag Research.

Starting out producing 20,000 bags of feed in the first year, the company now manufactures 20,000 bags per day during the production season and this is set to increase to 50,000 per day with the installation of a new processing plant next season.

When the company began 28 years ago sending feed to a small company in Osaka, Japan, Michael says the potential of exporting was little known, but now the company exports approximately 30 percent of total production throughout Asia and the Middle East.

While the company’s goal is to continue growing its markets and developing processes and products, its essence still remains grassroots.

“We’re a family company and working the land is still a hugely important part of what we do.”


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