Editor's note: The following case study was handled by Fausto Regusci, dairy nutritionist from Grover Beach, Calif.

Fausto Regusci has had a long, productive career as a dairy nutritionist. Now that he is in semi-retirement, he is fortunate to be in a position where he can donate a portion of his time to helping dairies free-of-charge.

“My goal is to help dairymen have a better life,” he says. “I’ve seen a lot of stress in dairymen, especially in the last few years,” he adds. This is one way to mitigate the problem.

Earlier this year, he decided to help a 300-cow dairy near Modesto, Calif., that was having serious production problems. It was a Jersey herd. The herd average was only 42 pounds per day, and the cows didn’t seem healthy; among other things, there was reduced cud-chewing.

It didn’t take Regusci long to zero in on the cannery waste that was being added to the cows’ ration. Fruit and vegetable cannery waste can be a good by-product feed, but in this case there were red flags. This particular waste included peach pits, and peach pits are toxic and also fill up the reticulum stomach compartments of the cows. This interferes with cows’ feed intakes, Regusci says.

Regusci had seen this problem before.

So, starting with the fresh cows, he removed the cannery waste, improved the ration, and made strategic use of commercial feed additives to help rumen fermentation.

“Suddenly, the cows started chewing their cuds again,” Regusci says. Over the past several months, the herd average has improved from 42 pounds to 56 pounds. Butterfat and protein percentages are up.

The moral of the story: Don’t feed any fruits with pits, because you will have nothing but problems, Regusci says. “You have to be careful what you feed animals.”

He still visits the farm once a month — again, free of charge. “I do it for the love of the work,” he says.