Dairy Feed Quality Conference 2019

Photos from the 2019 Dairy Feed Quality Conference


The 2019 Dairy Feed Quality Conference – a two‐day technical conference for feed manufacturers, nutritionists and senior executives of milk operations examining dairy nutrition, and the interaction between nutrition and management of the modern cow – was held on 16-17 September (Monday-Tuesday) at the Hilton Sukhumvit Hotel, in Bangkok, Thailand.

The conference brought together an exciting team of practical hands‐on speakers all with experience of milk production under tropical conditions to cover the themes of:

• Calf and heifer management – setting the future profitability of your herd

• Diet formulation strategies – getting value from the major cost input

• Satisfying the modern consumer and creating value that translates to farm profitability

Concluding the conference will be two simultaneous 90-minute discussion groups designed to help you plan the development of your dairy business. Delegates will choose between:

• Setting up a greenfield dairy farm

• Developing your dairy feed production

Each session was led by key speakers from the main program and ensure that delegates leave the conference with a clear plan for future expansion.


Calf and heifer management – setting the future profitability of your herd

The lifetime productivity and profitability of the herd is set from the earliest stages of development. This session will deal with the key aspects of successful calf and heifer management including the pre-calving platform, successful parturition, colostrum management, evaluating whole milk vs milk replacers, hygiene, minimising disease incidence through feeding, setting up a successful transition from monogastric to ruminant and developing the rumen, formulation of starter feeds, reducing weaning stress, individual vs group feeding and social development, growth targets and critical mating weights, and how first calving age and health affects profitability. The three speakers have extensive hands on experience and will convey the practical tips and observations on the economic impact of a successful rearing program.

Diet formulation strategies – getting value from the major cost input

Given that feed represents the major cost element in production it is critical that the formulation and presentation of the feed is both meeting the complex nature of ruminant nutritional requirements but utilising raw materials and supplements that optimise the economic return. This session will review nutritional requirements aligned with production levels (energy, protein, minerals, vitamins etc) and examine raw material use and processing to optimise balance and economic response. It will also demonstrate how anaylsis through simulated rumen conditions can assist with balancing raw materials for efficient production and predicted microbial protein output. It will review influences on rumen health and digestion, feed efficiency, feeding to alleviate heat stress as well as considerations for feedmills vs on farm mixing. In addition we will hear views on where dairy producers should spend their money in an Asian context.

Satisfying the modern consumer and creating value that translates to farm profitability

Asia is facing increased milk supply demands but with a global consumer and media focus on such as issues such as climate change, resource use, environmental load, welfare considerations, increased nutritional & diet awareness and scrutiny how do we meet the challenges and utilise the trends positively on farm for profitable outcomes? We will examine how management and nutritionally tackling issues contributes positively to farm profitability and sustainability.


Shane Whittaker
Dairy farmer and independent consultant, New Zealand

Mr Whittaker’s career has taken him the full circle from a New Zealand base with a degree from Massey University and share milking, to farms in the UK, USA (Pennsylvania) to eight years in India with Hatsun Agro and back to New Zealand where he currently runs a large milking herd of Holstein Friesian and HF Jersey cross. In India, Shane’s role with Hatsun Agro, one of the largest private dairy processors in India (more than 300,000 producers), included leading ‘Project White Gold’ where he developed farms of 10-30+ cows arranging loans, education, budgeting, R&D and feed formulation as well as being the department head with 20 agronomists, eight loan officers and animal extension services (60 vets and 220+ inseminators). Now responsible for a leading and rapidly growing herd in New Zealand, Shane’s experience across continents and first-hand practical experience of the challenges of developing as well as export markets makes for incredibly valuable insights and observations as to directions for Asian dairy development and where to focus.

Jay Johnstone
CEO, Fermentrics Technologies Inc, Canada

A graduate of McGill University, Dr Johnstone has been involved the animal feed industry since 1975 and was appointed CEO of RFS Technologies, a regional Ontario based feed manufacturer, in 1983. In 2017 Jay retired from RFS Technologies to concentrate his efforts on developing new laboratory techniques of feed analysis. His team have worked to better qualify feed characteristics and formulation techniques. This work has led to the development of the novel Fermentrics In Vitro gas system which employs live measurement of pressure, CH4, CO2, and pH and includes an interpretive approach based on Ai. Recent work has combined the Fermentrics system with a facial recognition platform being developed by Cainthus to identify live feeding patterns and ethology metrics with the goal of a better characterization of feed intake given varying environmental conditions.

Jeanette Fisher
Partner, Herifermax Consultancy, Australia

Ms Fisher runs Heifermax, an international dairy heifer management advisory service. Consulting work involves on-farm advising of dairy farmers on best practice calf and heifer management. She encourages farmers to adopt monitoring, measuring and the use of SOPs to achieve consistently good results. Group training is also offered. Examples of this include delivery of training sessions to groups of farmers, veterinarians, department staff and school students both in Australia and overseas. Ms Fisher has also worked in the USA to develop intensive irrigated grazing systems for sheep.

Jan Cortenbach
Chief Technical Officer, De Heus Animal Nutrition BV, China

Mr Cortenbach has MSc in Animal Husbandry (tropical animal production and poultry science0 from Wageningen Agricultural University, The Netherlands. For the last 114 years he has been with De Heus International as Chief Technical Officer responsible for know-how transfer to the company’s joint-venture partner Wellhope Agri-tech Co Ltd based in Beijing. He has been in pig, poultry and cattle farm management, feed milling technology, feed formulation, quality control, and quality assurance. Since January 2016 also supporting De Heus International for technical knowhow in Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia).

Earl Rattray
Dairy farmer and Director, New Zealand Dairy Farms Ltd, New Zealand

Mr Rattray has privately held dairy farming interests and employs the 50/50 sharemilker model. He has held many roles including as an External Monetary Policy Advisor to The Reserve Bank of NZ, Chairman of the Dairy Companies Association of NZ, Director of Fonterra, and Director of the New Zealand Dairy Board. He has been closely involved with Canterbury Grasslands – a large scale international dairy farming company in NZ and the USA. New Zealand Dairy Farms Ltd provides qualified investors with an opportunity to have a direct investment in dairy farming. Mr Rattray is also deeply involved in a green-field dairy business in India. This started formal production in 2014 and is an exciting, simple model, 350 cows on site, 200 milking, year-round supply in a fresh milk to market business model.