Industry Prize Winner – Kerensa Hawkey

26 May 2021

Kerensa Hawkey won this year’s BSAS Industry Prize for her intriguing paper titled – ‘Lower feed quality does not impact on the nutritional composition of Tenebio molitor’. Having graduated with a first class B.Sc Animal Science (Hons) degree at Nottingham, before going on to work as a Trainee Feed Formulator, Kerensa has now returned to the university to complete a PhD researching insects as nutrient concentrators for sustainable animal feeds. Her PhD links Kerensa’s interests in incorporating sustainable agriculture and improving the environmental impact of agriculture, through maximising and exploring new avenues of nutritional potential.

Tenebrio molitor (yellow mealworm) have been emphasised as a high-quality alternative protein source, but there is no standardised method for production. So, the objective of Kerensa’s award winning study was to compare a low quality (wheat bran) vs high quality (chick crumb) feed in un-regulated (variable room) and regulated (controlled incubator) conditions. She found that there were no differences in the growth of the mealworms, but there was lower feed intake in mealworms fed in the room compared to the incubator. Of those fed in the room there was lower feed intake when on wheat bran compared to chick crumb, suggesting that mealworms were the most feed efficient when on wheat bran in the room. It was also found that there were no differences in crude protein, total fat content or gross energy of the mealworms, so therefore feeding low quality wheat bran does not affect mealworm composition. Overall mealworms can convert low quality feeds into high quality protein, they are potentially more feed efficient on poor feeds which could result in financial and environmental savings. The take home message of the study was that mealworms can be fed non-competitive readily available by-product feeds.

Kerensa applied for the Industry Prize to push herself to begin applying her research in an industry focused way, and on completion of her PhD wants to work within the animal nutrition and feed industry, so hopes that winning the ‘Industry Prize’ will demonstrate that she can successfully use her academic knowledge and translate it to a practical industry level.

‘Taking part in this competition and winning the award has definitely influenced me in taking further my interests of using technical knowledge and understanding and then utilising it on a practical basis to help develop our industry further’ and for those considering entering next year’s award, Kerensa says ‘Go for it! Considering the industry impact of your research can help you ask yourself questions that you might not have thought of, which helps your overall knowledge.’

The Industry Prize for 2021 attracted over forty applicants and these were reviewed by a panel of 7 judges from across the industry sector.  The final six presented their papers at the BSAS 2021 virtual conference. 

‘The standard had yet again improved on the previous years and the final winner was a difficult decision that created much discussion.  In the end, Kerensa Hawkey won the prize as she presented her abstract with conviction and was able to answer the judge’s questions effectively and knowledgeably, without hesitation, giving us confidence in her own knowledge of the subject and how her work could be used in the future.  She had also looked into more detail about the application of her work, such as cost effectiveness and applicability.  Her work could, in effect, be put into practice on a commercial level immediately.’ David Wilde, Anpario Global Innovation Manager

Industry Prize Finalists

The calibre of presentations at this year’s BSAS 2021 conference was far greater than had been seen before and it was exciting to be able to catch a glimpse of the future talent of the animal science sector. Congratulations to our Industry Prize Finalists:

  • Caroline Best (Harper Adams University) – ‘New insight into the role of ovine hoof shape and damage on the susceptibility to Dichelobacter nodosus infection.’
  • David Kelly – ‘Profitability of commercial beef farms of superior herd terminal and maternal genetic merit.’
  • Sarah Icely (Harper Adams University) – ‘The effect of suckling position on piglet supplementary milk usage.’
  • Catherine Johnson (Harper Adams University) – ‘Short-term feed restriction and re-feeding alters rumen metabolism and performance of high yielding dairy cows fed different concentrate patterns and either with or without a live yeast.
  • Rashed Chowdhury (Harpers Adam University) – ‘Reducing dietary protein and supplementation with starch or rumen-protected methionine on milk performance and metabolism in dairy cows fed red clover/grass silage based diets.