Mount Mills, the Newry-based manufacturer of cold-pressed flax oil for the equine industry, has won business from a leading racing stud in Dubai, one of the world’s major horse racing and breeding centres, in the United Arab Emirates.
The new contract from the Emirates is the most recent won by the farm-based enterprise in international markets. Mount Mills already ships flax oil to horse breeders and trainers in France, Germany, Spain and the Republic of Ireland.
The new export business was announced by Jim Magill, Managing Director of Mount Mills, who founded the flax oil business in 2007, and welcomed by Maynard Mawhinney, Invest Northern Ireland’s Director of Food and Tourism.
Mr Mawhinney said: “The success which Mount Mills is already enjoying in Europe and, most recently, in the Emirates positively positions this enterprising business for growth within the global equine industry, which is currently worth around £4 billion a year.
“The company has made impressive progress through individual recommendations and word of mouth. There’s significant scope for the company to take advantage of the expertise that Invest NI offers in Dubai, the hub of our Middle East / Asia marketing activities. There is a substantial opportunity for the company to expand business in these markets, particularly in the Emirates, one of the world’s most important centres for horse breeding and racing and equine sports.”
Mr Magill, commenting on the success of the company’s flax oil products, said: “Cold-pressed flax oil is a rich source of Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids which provide significant health benefits to horses, especially high performance animals, such as greater vitality, endurance, mobility and fertility.
“Much of our success outside Northern Ireland has been achieved from recommendations from top trainers and champion riders, including Dermott Lennon and Trevor Smith of Smith Brothers Eventing, and we now export more than 30 per cent of our production of flax oil cold-pressed using machinery on the farm.
“Over the past five years we’ve experienced year-on-year growth of around 60 per cent and now plan to step up our production and marketing activities, because of the growing recognition of the quality and effectiveness of our 100 per cent natural and unrefined flax oil.
“Our flax oil is the result of many years of research experimenting with different crops such as marigold, hemp as well as flaxseed. I found that flaxseed produced the best balance of Omega 3 oil and Omega 6 oil – the two most essential fatty acids that a horse cannot naturally produce.
“Longer term benefits of flax oil include improved hoof quality, increased bone density, improved joint health, reduced muscle soreness, and increased tissue elasticity, which reduces the incidence of nasal bleeding in performance horses. In addition, mares’ milk which is higher in Omega 3 can result in healthier foals with a higher resistance to infection,” he added.
The company also has complete ‘field to drum’ control of the product which ensures total traceability and quality.
Mount Mills flax oil was launched as a farm diversification project by Mr Magill, who runs a mixed arable / animal farm on the outskirts of Newry. As well as flax grown on the 80-acre farm, Mr Magill sources the raw material from other growers in the area. He has a background in horse breeding and equestrian events stretching back 30 years.