Meet Ken, Ken (on the left) is our Dairy Nutritionist. He has a PhD in ruminant nutrition aka nutrition for animals that digest their food by first eating it and then regurgitating (cute, huh) a semi-digested form called cud. These animals, including cows, then eat their cud, a process called ruminating. Hope you weren’t eating while reading this portion!
Ken comes to the farm about once a week. While he is at the farm he was the glorious job of watching what goes in the cow and what comes out… maybe you shouldn’t eat during this part either… He is like a glorified Dietitian but for cows!! Another part of his job is to look at the overall “condition” (whether they are skinny, just right or getting a bit on the chunky side) of each group of heifers and cows. You see, depending on the age and stage of lactation (whether or not they just had a baby) the cow needs different nutrition requirements. Baby calves need a different menu or diet then “teenage” heifers or cows who are about to give birth. Ken helps us make sure they are getting exactly the nutrients they need.
We try and grow as much of the food for the cows as possible, including hay, corn, and soybeans. But, because each field can have a different soil type, possibility for a different amount of rain fall and many other factors, not all hay etc. is created equal. Ken randomly takes samples of all of our feed ingredients and will adjust the “ration” or menu depending on the quality to make sure the cows continue to get the nutrients they need.
Ken also checks in with our team to make sure that the menu that looks good on paper is actually just as tasty for the cows. We can come up with the most balanced “ration” but we aren’t going to get very far if the cows don’t eat it! Just like everything in life communication is very important!!
I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about Ken and how we keep our bovine beauties menu’s looking good and tasting great!
You are now in the all clear in terms of eating. I promise not to mention burping or pooping any more during this post!!