What does Michigan dairy producer Ken Nobis appreciate the most about his nutritionist?

Common sense.

“If he’s seen a practical application work time after time, he doesn’t need to see the scientific proof,” Nobis said. Not to deny scientific proof, but the general inclination to try something can be formed upon one’s own experience and observations.

For example, five to eight years ago, when people started to put straw in their dry-cow rations, some of the Ph.D nutritionists in the academic community scoffed, Nobis recalls. But Nobis’ nutritionist saw it work on other farms and agreed to try it at Nobis’ farm, as well.

Nobis’ nutritionist works with enough farms that he has this kind of confidence.  

Another thing that Nobis appreciates: The nutritionist’s bottom-line perspective.

A feed additive may generate an extra 2 pounds of milk, but that 2-pound advantage may be negated by the cost, Nobis points out. So, it takes a good nutritionist to determine the final bottom-line impact. 

Nobis runs a 1,050-cow operation in St. John’s, Mich.