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Master of Agribusiness

More than 20 years developing agribusiness, one leader at a time.

CONTACT: Mary Bowen l 785.532.4435 l mjbowen@ksu.edu l www.mab.ksu.edu

Micro Feeding Machines in the Dairy Industry


MANHATTAN, KANSAS, May 2, 2018 – Carl Kass, Bruce, South Dakota, defended his thesis, “Micro
Feeding Machines in the Dairy Industry” on January 16. He is a Dairy Consultant at Standard Nutrition.
Kass will be a spring graduate from Kansas State University with a Master of Agribusiness (MAB)
degree.

On most dairy cattle farms, feed costs are over 50 percent of the expenditures associated with the
business. Micronutrients are one of the most expensive components per unit of the feed. The beef
cattle industry has implemented the use of micronutrient machines to provide micronutrients to the
cattle that specifically need them for dietary reasons. These machines mix small, accurate amounts of
micronutrients into individual cow feed rations, and targets cows that should receive these specialized
rations to insure the expensive ingredients are not overused. The dairy industry has not adopted these
machines extensively, but with the introduction of more micronutrient machines, feed cost per cow
could decrease as only cows that can benefit from the costly micronutrients would receive them,
saving dairy farms money.

“With precision feeding, we can target exactly the ingredient that the cow’s system is lacking, instead
of adding extra, expensive whole ingredients. The addition of micronutrient machines to fine tune
rations on dairy farms could be a profitable way to manage the income over food cost (IOFC), not only
by saving money on micronutrients, but by increasing production and reducing herd health concerns,”
Kass said.

Through his thesis research, Kass found that there is an economic advantage to implementing the use
of micronutrient machines in the dairy cattle industry. By not feeding micronutrients to cows that do
not need them, dairy farms can potentially increase their overall return on investment and reduce the
feed cost spent per cow.

Allen Featherstone, Professor, Agricultural Economics Department Head, Director of the MAB
program and Kass’ thesis advisor, said, “As the global population is expected to increase, farmer’s will
need to increase the efficiency of food production. The use of micronutrients is one technology that
will become more common in the future. Kass’ thesis helps to examine the financial feasibility of one
such investment”.

K-State’s Master of Agribusiness (www.mab.ksu.edu) is an award-winning, distance-education degree


program that focuses on food, animal health and agribusiness management. Students and alumni
work in every sector of the food, animal health and agribusiness industry and are located in 40 states
within the United States and in more than 30 countries.

The full thesis publication can be found online on Kansas State University’s Research Exchange at www.ksu.edu

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