Approximately 30 students at Vives University College are learning about BESTMIX feed formulation as part of their bachelor’s coursework in agro- and biotechnology.
In the main subject of agriculture, feed formulation is a regular subject, while in the main subject of agro-industry it is an elective.
Isabelle Degezelle, a lecturer in pig farming, agricultural management and feed formulation at Vives University College, uses BESTMIX feed formulation during her classes.
Isabelle Degezelle: “I’ve been using BESTMIX for about 9 years in my lessons now. It has been the cloud version since this year. The advantage here is that we no longer have to install the software individually on PCs, and that updates take place automatically. Moreover, it offers the possibility of continuous training. Students can practice in the package at any time, for example during their internship, and can keep their login once their degree programme has been completed. My intention is primarily to provide logical principles and have them adapt and optimise their formulas based on simulations and practice cases. Through BFA, in the near future I will also be giving this course to pig farmers and people who are starting out in the livestock feed sector.”
Lynn Lesage, a 3rd year agricultural student: “Many of my fellow students come from the agricultural sector or have strong affinity with it. It is important to be able to make independent and well-founded decisions as regards livestock feed, and that’s why the lessons on feed formulation are so interesting. Based on the raw materials available or to be purchased you learn to calculate an optimal composition, taking all quality requirements into account. BESTMIX is a well-known software package in the livestock feed sector. Knowledge of this software will therefore also certainly be a plus when we are on the job market later on.”
Vives University College focuses strongly on practical education. From the first year, students choose their main subject, which means they immediately focus on their area of interest. During their studies students carry out three internships, and there are many close contacts with the field throughout the entire study period.
Isabelle Degezelle: “The greatest strength of attending Vives is that everything is very practice-oriented. For example, Vives does not use a research stable, as is the case with many other educational institutions, and instead we go with the students to visit farmers and livestock breeders on their premises. One day a week for an entire year there is exploration in the field, in accordance with the chosen specialisation. For example, agricultural students go look at machines while agro-industry students visit facilities in the vegetable processing industry. We also use student companies whereby groups of 5 students set up a small business. In this way, at bachelor level they learn all the relevant economic principles and so are optimally prepared for the labour market.”
More about Isabelle Degezelle: After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in agro- and biotechnology, Isabelle also earned a master’s degree in life sciences, animal and vegetable production. She is now a lecturer in pig farming, agricultural management and feed formulation at Vives, the largest University College in West Flanders. She also coordinates internships and bachelor’s examinations. As her parents have a mixed farm, Isabelle continues to be in touch with the practical side of things every day. This combination of academic knowledge and practical experience makes her a valued teacher among her students. Furthermore, 20% of her time is devoted to agricultural research. For example, she is involved in a project on health monitoring for meat pigs based on noise-detection technology. This is a KU Leuven spin-off for which sound is monitored at around 10 companies. In the case of increased coughing frequency an alarm is triggered, meaning that an outbreak of a cough-related illness can be detected up to 12 days earlier than would otherwise be the case.
You can find out more about Isabelle Degezelle’s projects here: