Ruminant nutritionists create and balance rations to ensure livestock dietary needs are addressed and to ensure maximum production of a producer’s animals while ensuring the ration suggested is of the lowest cost to the producer.
- Consider the varied nutritional needs of the animals in question and formulate balanced feed rations based on nutritional and caloric requirements of the animals.
- Assess condition of animals (level of fatness), as well as level of activity and physiological demands (productivity performance, reproductive needs, growth and/or lactation requirements, or need for weight gain or loss) depending on season, ambient temperature, and hair coat thickness.
- Utilize computer programs specially created for particular species or type of livestock (such as CowBytes vr.5 for beef cattle, from cow-calf to feedlot) to formulate best, low-cost rations for a client.
- Involvement in research or teaching activities, from conducting work in conjunction with livestock veterinarians, animal health technicians, zookeepers, to working with industry research groups and scientists, such as with meat scientists and rangeland agrologists.
- Regularly call on and service both current and new clients.
- Provide technical training to customers and sales representatives.
- Work with feed production team to develop new feed products and ensure highest level of quality of feeds sold and produced for sale.
Skills and Qualifications:
- May specialize in different fields of specific species, such as exotics/wildlife (bison, elk, yaks, or deer), or types such as dairy or beef cattle.
- Advanced education in animal nutrition with a solid understanding and previous experience in the beef (or dairy) industry and markets, working directly with producers in nutritional management.
- Excellent knowledge of ruminant nutrition and applicability to feed formulation, feed management and proper management and feed practices, and a passion for the livestock industry.
- Ability to develop, service, and maintain positive relations with customers in agricultural-based market.
- Excellent oral and written communication skills as well as good leadership qualities in applying these to training and teaching customers and related sales representatives.
- Working knowledge of data and nutritional programs.
A variety of environments are expected of ruminant nutritionists, from farm visits to office and laboratory environments.
Education and Training:
Animal nutritionists are required to have extensive training from college studies with courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, animal physiology and anatomy, animal ethology and behaviour, animal nutrition, forage and feed production, food animal production, and feed ration formulation. Nutritionists are taught both computerized and hand-written methods of creating and balancing rations.
Most entry-level ruminant nutritionist positions require a Bachelor of Science degree with Animal Science, Biology or Biochemistry majors in the field of animal nutrition. Masters and PhD degrees are generally required for teaching and research positions at the collegiate level, however advanced nutritionist careers by feed companies are also offered.
Salary and Wages:
Salary ranges from $55,000 to $70,600 per annum.