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A Visit to Primary Diets


OUT& ABOUT by Andrew Mounsey


Primary Diets are specialists. They manufacture and supply pre- starter and starter feeds for piglets. And through focussing on this one area to produce a range of feeds which give piglets the optimum start in life, they have established a strong position in the UK and, increasingly, in export markets throughout Europe. Andrew Mounsey travelled to the company’s mill in North Yorkshire to find out more.


Primary Diets is now part of the Premier Nutrition division of AB Agri. Although many UK pig farmers have direct contact with Primary Diets, they buy its products through its sister company, ABN. Primary Diets is very technically based, with four qualified nutritionists whose duties include supporting the ABN customers and sales force in various ways, undertaking research both at the University of Leeds (where they have had a permanent contract for over 13 years) and through on-farm trials, attending technical meetings and travelling overseas. On the day of my visit, however, two of them – general manager, Philip Stockill and technical director Paul Toplis – took time out to tell me the Primary Diets story. It began in 1996 when four people – Stuart Crowe, Paul Toplis,


Phillip Lingard and Jim Vayro – decided to leave SCA Nutrition (which had been bought by Provimi) and set up a new business manufacturing piglet feed in the mill at Melmerby in the empty buildings which SCA had vacated three years earlier. The plan was not overly ambitious. They wanted to have a small low cost, local business supplying farmers in the North of England, while still allowing time for the four directors to play golf on Friday afternoons! However, in the very early days, Fishers and Bibby’s, the forerunners of ABN, decided they needed some creep


Left: Most of the ‘unsung heroes’ (l to r): Paul Wilbor, Tony McManus, Philip Stockill, Sue Cole, Tom Shurlock, Sharon Pickering, Paul Toplis and Katherine Fenny


PAGE 20 OCTOBER 2012 FEED COMPOUNDER


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