Creating a healthier world
Volac’s history reflects our desire to create a healthier world through dairy nutrition, innovation and collaborative partnerships.
Volac began in 1970, as a collaboration between the dairy industry entrepreneur Dick Lawes and a talented veterinary student, Philip Paxman.
Dick was instrumental in the development and manufacture of spray-dried fat-filled skim milk products needed to satisfy British consumers appetites for dairy, post-WWII. It was these products which established his reputation in the industry.
When Volac was created, animal nutrition was also becoming more sophisticated. Philip’s meticulous work on using specially formulated milk replacers to help rear young livestock, had shown remarkable results for growth rate and overall animal health.
For Dick Lawes, teaming up with Philip and investing in a business to develop premium-branded, animal feed products, represented a terrific commercial opportunity. It also cemented their partnership and the desire they shared — transforming the practices and efficiency of small, family-owned, dairy farms.
Volac’s ‘easy-mix’ high-quality milk replacers soon helped farmers become more successful, because they could deliver nutritional and productivity benefits for livestock, that were unmatched by existing farming methods and generic feed.
This early focus on calf-rearing is reflected in our name: Volac. It is a combination of the French for calf — ‘veau’ — and ‘-lac’ derived from ‘Millac’ one of Dick Lawes’ revolutionary consumer products, developed while he worked for L.E. Pritchitt & Co. Ltd.
In the early 1980’s Volac established itself as an international company with another pioneering product: Megalac®. It was the first truly effective protected feed fat supplement, based on almost a decade of research. It gave a remarkable energy boost to the diets of dairy cows, improved their general health and increased their productivity.
Megalac® remains one of our most globally influential and successful animal nutrition products.
In tandem with Megalac® being launched, Volac promoted the technique of big bale silage — the wrapping of bales with weatherproof film — to upland dairy farmers. This approach allowed every farmer, with even the smallest herd, to make forage easily and use it to improve the output of their livestock.
In the late 1980’s Volac underwent a key manufacturing transition. We pioneered the use of advanced ultra-filtration technology to extract high-quality protein from liquid whey. This allowed us to move from using skim-milk powder as a core ingredient for animal feed formulas to using whey-based protein instead and gave our products a superior nutritional profile.