A feeder pours feed into a trough for black cattle to eat in a feedyard.

January 29, 2018

This month, the Hi-Pro blog introduces a new series of blog posts: Ag Careers. By interviewing various members of different professions in agriculture, we hope to not only showcase the hard working individuals of our industry, but also provide information for anyone who may be interested in building a career in agriculture. This month, we talked to our Hi-Pro nutritionists about their work providing optimal nutrition to your livestock.

The day-to-day life of an animal nutritionist can vary greatly, depending on their customer base, customer production goals, animal species and other required duties. The role of animal nutritionist is one of the most important and unique positions within in an animal nutrition company. Nutritionists at Hi-Pro Feeds all come from different backgrounds, but share the same passion of meeting the needs of the customer while improving the health and nutrition of their animals.

David Bradberry, works with a number of dairies in central Texas. When he visits a customer’s operation, Bradberry first meets with the dairymen to discuss any concerns and identify areas we need to review. Then he will walk through the cows looking at the feed, the body condition and the manure to make sure everything looks consistent and the cows are healthy, including the heifers and babies. Bradberry also spends time at the commodity barn to evaluate the ingredients and check for any issues with the feed.  After the walk-through he will review rations and make any necessary adjustments.

One of the challenges in Dairy nutrition is working with the different kinds of forages. “Dairies feed a lot of forage, silage, balage, different sources of hay, and there’s a lot of different by products. Almost every dairy puts up their forages a little differently. I’m constantly adapting and balancing everything to make it fit,” explained Bradberry. “When you make a ration change and you see results, it really makes you feel good that you were able to do something that helped the dairyman and the animal.”

Hi-Pro Feeds range nutritionist Kent Mills has been helping ranchers improve herd nutrition and production for over 30 years. Mills’ program, highlighted in our Pathway to Profit video series, involves understanding a herds grazing behavior of available forages to identify nutritional deficiencies. After collecting samples and understanding the nutritional properties of the available forages, Mills develops custom nutritional programs to improve herd health and ranch productivity.

Working as a nutritionist involves diversity in the day to day, and the challenge of finding just the right formula, not only for the animal, but for the productivity of the producer.  For Mills, it is the constantly changing range land that provides the biggest challenge. “The nutrient values of the forage change from month-to- month and year-to- year, and it requires regular sampling to monitor these variations. As forage nutrient values change, so too does the animal’s supplemental nutrient requirements,” said Mills. “It’s really rewarding to watch our ranch customers learn about the needs of their livestock and the value of the forages they have available. As they apply this knowledge to their management, you can see the improvements in both their productivity, and the condition of their livestock.”

Dr. Matt McMillan, equine nutritionist explains that every day seems to be different. His duties include nutrition, research and development, new product development, technical sales and marketing, and involvement in production and manufacturing. Dr. McMillan also spends time on the road travelling to mills to visit with production supervisors as well as assisting salesmen and dealers with information and education of products.

Along with other nutritionists at Hi-Pro Feeds, Dr. McMillan enjoys working with customers and their equine programs. He has played an integral part in developing new products in the equine feeds portfolio. “It’s really rewarding bringing a product to market and watch it perform well,” added McMillan.

Brice Tabor has been a nutritionist with Hi-Pro Feeds for 27 years, and his considerable expertise supports the sales staff and customers. “I provide individual nutrition consultations for customers, and I help the support the sales team in providing the best information to our dealers.”

Hi-Pro is proud to have people with such experience and expertise working hard to ensure our customers and their livestock get the best nutrition possible.

Are you pursuing a career in animal nutrition? Tell us your story!