Michelle Sprent  -  Sustainable pig nutrition

I have been working as a pig nutritionist since graduating in 1999. Although not from a farming background I actually started feeding pigs inadvertently at the age of 14 when I got my first job working in a greengrocer’s shop.  We used to collect all our waste fruit and veg into spud sacks for “Frank the Pig Man” to collect every Saturday!  I now work for Premier Nutrition (manufacturers of vitamin and mineral premixes for all species) providing on farm technical support to UK pig producers who are home mixing their feeds.  A large proportion of my work is with producers who are utilising liquid co products.  This includes products such as wheat distillers syrups from the biofuel sector and liquid yeasts from the brewing industry.  My work has led me to have a greater interest in less conventional ingredients for pigs which offer a sustainable and cost effective alternative to the more common raw materials such as soya.

Through my Nuffield Scholarship I hope to investigate how other markets (such as the Netherlands, Germany and the USA) are utilising co products, how they are approaching the problem of ever increasing volatility in the cost and supply of conventional ingredients and what alternative raw materials they are investigating and developing.  I am also hoping to see what the future holds for conventional ingredients for pigs.  As part of this I would like to visit ingredient producers such as the South American soya growers to see how they envisage the future for their crops.  I would like my scholarship to help me develop not only my knowledge of ingredients and global pig production but also to extend my network of contacts.  Through these aims I hope to be able to transfer knowledge and experience to our UK producers to help improve their businesses and ensure that they can cost effectively and sustainably produce high quality pigs in the future. 

I am very grateful to BPEX and Merial for sponsoring my scholarship.