Editor’s note: The following Practice Builder is based on an interview with Gary Gibson, dairy producer from Ogden, Utah.

What does Ron Gibson look for in a nutritionist?

As a dairyman, he must deal with a number of issues on an everyday basis. So, he wants someone who understands the operation and the problems that can occur ― basically, someone who can step into his shoes, so to speak.

“It’s easy for a nutritionist to live in his own little world” and come up with the perfect ration, Gibson says. But, in the real world, there are a number of constraints that can alter the outcome, such as how the ration is being mixed and delivered to the cows.

Nutritionists need to help find the bottlenecks, Gibson says. That, in turn, can help relieve some of the load on the producer.

“I like it when people take these things off my shoulders,” he says.

Again, it boils down to the nutritionist’s familiarity with the dairy.

“If the nutritionist has a relationship with the feeder, then the time he has to spend with me is cut in half,” Gibson says.

Gibson runs a 1,500-cow operation near Ogden, Utah.