Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 11

MAKING
DAIRY
DISCOVERIES
ON
A
REAL-WORLD
SCALE
POND HILL DAIRY RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT CENTER
by Feed Components

Dairy producers, by nature, are skeptical
people who demand proof of product
performance. Companies make a significant
investment in research to earn a dairy
producer's trust, especially when introducing
new products to market. This is commonly
accomplished by contracting a university to
conduct product trials.
Most university-led research facilities,
however, share one significant limitation:
they often cannot mimic the environment
of an actual dairy operation. Whether due
to size, infrastructure, or a lack of cows, it's
difficult for university-run research facilities
to accurately replicate typical dairy situations.
Such a dearth of dairy research facilities that
offer the benefit of being on location at a highproducing operation puzzled Keith Moritz and
Jim Rohrer, co-owners of Feed Components.
Founded in 2008, Feed Components is a
progressive company focused on improving
dairy production through the research and
development of inventive feeding strategies.
They are a leading authority in essential amino
acid balancing products, including Mepron, a
rumen-protected methionine supplement.

Moritz and Rohrer saw an opportunity to
develop a unique private dairy research facility
that could provide real-world production data
unlike any other.
"University-led research is widely
considered the gold standard for executing
controlled product trials. But there's something
to be said about a product when its performance
can also be validated on a real-life dairy
operation," says Moritz. "Dairy producers are
always looking for better solutions. So when a
company can provide verifiable proof of how
their product will perform on a real-world
dairy operation, producers can feel confident
in their purchase decision."
In 2011, Moritz and Rohrer began
developing the framework for a worldclass dairy research center that would be
incorporated into Moritz's family farm, the
700-cow-plus Pond Hill Dairy. located in Fort
Atkinson, Wisconsin. The sheer size alone of
the Pond Hill Dairy operation would make this
facility one of the most unique dairy research
facilities in the world, says Moritz.
"Jim (Rohrer) and I went back and forth
with the idea of building a privately-run

facility dedicated to researching products that
would help fill the holes in nutrition programs
throughout the dairy industry," says Moritz.
"We're in the feed nutrient business, so we're
always continuing to develop and learn how
to better use our current product line at Feed
Components. But we also wanted to extend
our facility to other companies that value being
able to conduct controlled research at a highproducing dairy farm."
In the fall of 2013, doors opened to the
30,000-square-foot Pond Hill Dairy Research
& Development Center (phdR&D).
Meagan Cooney, Research Manager with
phdR&D, explains that the facility "leases"
cows from the commercial dairy to clients
to conduct their trials. "Most dairy research
facilities only have a select few cows to choose
from, so those cows spend most of their lives
going from one trial to the next. Because there
are over 700 cows to choose from at phdR&D,
cows move back to the main dairy barn and
continue on as usual once their trial finishes,"
says Cooney.
Cooney says that phdR&D can have about
150 to 200 cows in projects at any given time.

phoenixfeeds.net/magazine

Perspectives Magazine

11


http://www.phoenixfeeds.net/magazine

Perspectives - Winter 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Perspectives - Winter 2016

Contents
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - Cover1
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - Cover2
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - Contents
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 4
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 5
Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 6
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Perspectives - Winter 2016 - 11
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