Situated between the Scottish Mainland and Norway, are the UK’s most northerly group of islands; the Shetlands, where Böd Ayre Products Ltd is based. Böd Ayre Products, Shetland, is operated by an organic farming family. Established in June 2001 on a pilot scale, Böd Ayre Products expanded in 2003, and produce natural and organically certified seaweed gardening & animal feed supplement products, and more recently edible seaweeds for human consumption, from natural and wild Shetland coastal water seaweed. The seaweed is carefully harvested by hand, leaving the root and part of the plant, to ensure regrowth. Our production and product range has grown steadily.
Shetland’s coastal waters are the most productive in the world. The Continental shelf around Shetland is a mixing zone for nutrients welling up from the depths. Because of this the maritime industries have always been the Shetland Islands main contribution to the local economy including fishing, salmon farms and mussel farms.
Historically Shetlanders used to collect ‘waar’ – seaweed blown up on the beaches following storms. Knowing its high nutrient value, this was traditionally applied to benefit the land, cooked to feed to animals and through times of hardship, Shetlanders would harvest fresh seaweeds to eat. Shetland seaweed was also a commercial industry being shipped to the UK mainland in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Seaweeds thrive in Shetland’s clean, clear waters and this became Böd Ayre's inspiration to produce natural and organic seaweed products. Presently, most of the seaweed is harvested by hand from around Shetland’s coastline, using a sustainable management plan.
The cultivation of seaweed on seaweed farms would enhance the production, and provide the possibility of growing particular species of seaweed (provided the species is already growing naturally within the area). Currently the main species growing naturally on the trial seaweed farms is the Laminaria saccharina (Sugar kelp). Böd Ayre Products is commercially leading the way in the UK by carrying out two trial seaweed cultivation farms and is looking to put further seaweed farms in place around Shetland’s shores, thus adding another dimension to the maritime industries.
Having vision and appreciating the nutrient value and numerous potential uses of seaweed, along with reviving the tradition, using modern techniques, Margaret and Michael Blance, founded Böd Ayre Products Ltd in 2003 and are both engaged full time in the management and running of the company. Böd Ayre Products has already produced a portfolio of organically certified seaweed products specifically focusing on animal feed and plant fertiliser. The aim is now to include in the portfolio high quality Shetland seaweeds to introduce into the cosmetic industry, as well as the food industry.
The Business has recently completed an energy saving project, with the erection of a 20kw wind turbine north from the seaweed factory, which is providing low carbon energy to new clean production facilities, for processing seaweed extract suitable for the cosmetic industry, and dried edible seaweed products.
Benefits of seaweed extract as soil and crop enhancer/conditioner:
Stronger, healthier roots and plants
Possible resistance to potato blight
Helps towards resistance to club root
Vegetables & fruits have longer shelf life once harvested
Benefits of feeding seaweed extract to animals:
Improved growth rates in lambs
Increase in wool production in sheep
Gives higher iodine levels in eggs and milk
Gives brighter coloured egg yolks
Reduces intestinal parasites in pigs
Reduces the incidence of mastitis in cows
Gives healthy hooves, coats and overall well-being in horses, and all animals as a whole
Böd Ayre Products Ltd have recently launched two larger containers for animal feed supplements. These 210 and 1000 litre containers work out much more favourable economically including shipment, and the product keeps - hence it is certainly the best sized products for farmers.
Böd Ayre Products Ltd are also keen to find new distributors for their seaweed products within the farming community.