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Livestock

Wyoming Angus breeders attend national nutrition conference

Written by Curt Cox
Gray Summit, Mo. — Converse County Angus Breeders Brad Boner of M Diamond Angus, and Labonte Creek Angus’ Neil Forgey recently attended the three-day Land O’ Lakes Purina Genetics Supplier VIP Conference at the Land O’Lakes Purina’s state-of-the-art LongView Animal Nutrition Center outside of St. Louis, Mo. Forgey and Boner were hosted by Purina’s Wyoming Cattle Specialist Kevin Lavelle of Cheyenne. Forgey and Boner were both sponsored on the event by Douglas Feed and Land O’ Lakes Purina.
     The Wyoming group was among 160 seedstock producers from 19 states to attend the conference. During the three-day conference researchers from Purina, along with other cattle experts, gave presentations covering a large array of animal nutrition topics. According to Lavelle, “The VIP Conferences help producers learn some techniques and some technologies that can make their operations more efficient. It also allows us the opportunity to show them what we are doing in the research field and be able to tell our story.”
    The majority of the very informative and industrially relevant topics covered during the event were focused around common cattle nutrition issues and trying to achieve optimum use of your feedstuffs. Also on display was the innovative and constantly ongoing research undertaken at the company’s LongView Animal Nutrition Center and the innovative feed programs developed as a result of this research. Proof of this innovation is found on the wall of the beef conference center where the company proudly displays all of its registered patents.   When asked about the importance of this innovation to his company Lavelle stated, “It’s everything about Purina. The company makes a big effort and spends a lot of money developing new ideas, trying to stay in front of the field and be the nation’s leader in cattle nutrition.”
    Many of the company’s scientists and research staff, as well as outside industry experts, gave presentations. Topics covered a wide spectrum of beef nutrition topics including ruminant nutrition, early weaning strategies, healthy feet and legs, reproductive performance and more. The event also included a stop at the Large Animal Metabolism Unit where a sample was taken from a cow’s rumen and placed under a microscope to view the microscopic organisms or “bugs” as they are referred to.
    When asked what he took away from attending the conference Boner said, “What I was really intrigued by was how many new and different options there are to get the same thing done. I think that’s important because every year is a little different in our neck of the woods and feedstuffs cost a little different.  Every year if you don’t have that information you can’t always make the best decision on least cost feedstuffs for your livestock. If hay is cheaper one year there are options there or if corn is cheaper there are options there. It gives you a lot of options to think about to get the best job done for your livestock at the least cost.”
    Forgey said, “It was nice to talk to other producers who have actually been in the (Purina Feeds) program, who have hands on experience with the products.”
    Boner added, “I was very impressed with the passion those people had for their jobs. You can’t really appreciate that unless you go see it firsthand.”
    When asked how often his company holds this event Lavelle answered, “The Genetics Supplier VIP is an annual event, but we generally have between five and seven VIP events throughout the year. This isn’t the only event we do, but this one just happens to be geared specifically toward purebred breeders. We also put on a feedlot event as well as a handful of commercial oriented events every year.”
    Lavelle went on to invite any livestock producers, seedstock or otherwise, who might be interested in attending future events, to contact himself or their local Purina Feed dealer for more information.
    Curt Cox is field editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and traveled to Missouri with the Wyoming group.