The importance of feed fats in dairy cow nutrition cannot be underestimated. Recognised as being the richest source of energy (some 2.5 times the energy concentration of cereals), dietary fats are invaluable where the energy demand is high. For dairy cows, this is particularly relevant in early lactation, while goats, sheep and beef cattle can also benefit at finishing.
In addition, feed fats also play a key role in supporting fertility and can be fed without the risk of acidosis that other feed sources bring.
This element of our products is so vital that we invest significantly in our teams that develop and communicate them. With that in mind, we want to introduce you to Laura Steeden, our Feed Fat Product Manager here at Volac International and Volac Wilmar Feed Ingredients.
Let’s kick off with a little about life here at VWFI...
Hi Laura, please tell us a little about yourself and your role at VWFI.
As Feed fat product Manager for Volac and Volac Wilmar Feed Ingredients, I look after the ‘Mega’ brands such as Megalac, Mega-Max and the Mega-Fat range, to name just a few.
I have been with Volac & Volac Wilmar for nearly 3 years now and have worked within animal nutrition and health in the farming industry for most of my career. So there’s a lot to draw upon and share with customers and colleagues.
What’s your favourite thing about working at Volac Wilmar?
One of my favourite aspects of working at Volac and Volac Wilmar is the people I work alongside and their passion for our industry.
Working for a global business means that I regularly speak with colleagues and customers from all over the world. Since many of us have been working from home for nearly 17 months, the world feels a lot smaller these days. The way we communicate with each other has become a lot more sophisticated and somehow feels more personal.
I am also kept well and truly on my toes by our R&D team. There is always a new and exciting innovation coming through the pipeline, which means there’s no risk of boredom setting in!
What is the hardest part of being a Product Manager?
My role is pretty diverse, and I often wear a variety of different hats. So funnily enough, I think the hardest part of the role for me is actually explaining what I do to family and friends.
After a particularly tough year in 2020, what do you think 2021/2022 will hold for the industry?
It is difficult to predict what will happen in the coming months. However, my hope for 2021/2022 is that we can get back to some kind of normality. For me, this would be where we can once again meet up at trade shows and events and chew the fat over a cup of tea or a beer.
(We’ll say cheers to that!)
What are you most excited about this year/next year?
See above! I am most excited about getting out and about again and being able to travel on both a personal and professional level.
And on a personal note…
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Most of my spare time is spent with my little boy. As a family, we like to spend as much time as we can outside - whatever the time of the year and whatever the weather.
Can you tell us a little bit about your pets?
At the moment, we have 2 cats called Jack and Potatoe (Tates for short), as well as a Gecko called Daffodil and multiple tropical fish. Our favourite Plec is called Tiggy.
Earlier in the year, we hatched some Silkie Bantam chicks at home, which was very exciting. These guys now live on our allotment and will hopefully provide us with some lovely fresh eggs very soon. But as they are still only little at the moment, we’ve got a little while to go yet.
If you weren’t Feed Fat Product Manager at VWFI, what do you think you’d be doing?
In an ideal world (and this is a rather specific dream), if I were not Feed Fat Product Manager for VWFI, I would love to be working in conservation on the Galapagos Islands.
I find it fascinating that the world created these islands with their own eco-systems, millions of years ago. There are some plants and animals that live there that are unique to these Islands and won’t be found anywhere else in the world. I’d love to be part of that!
What’s your favourite food?
My favourite food is cheese… of course!
A fun cheese fact for all our readers: There are over 2000 different types of cheese!
Wow! Who knew?!
Thanks so much to Laura for taking a break in her schedule to chat with us. We hope you’ve enjoyed the chance to get to know another vital member of our team, just that little bit better.