What Seemed Normal was Really Opportunity
Edward Nunes Dairy
Consultant: Michael Azevedo
- Milking nearly 2,000 cows
- Improved protein efficiency of the diet
- Changes made for granddaughter’s future on the farm
When you’ve worked with someone for 30 years there is a level of comfort that is hard to leave. That was the case for Eddie Nunes, Jr. who manages Edward Nunes Dairy, a 2,000-cow operation in Escalon, California, with three of his brothers. Like many dairymen, Eddie learned the business of caring for cows through hands-on experience on the family dairy. When he took over the reins from his father, he was used to the way things ran, the way his nutritionist worked, and the way his cows looked.
However, things started to change for Eddie when Michael Azevedo, an ambitious, new dairy consultant from Cargill, started stopping by the dairy routinely. “Michael cares extremely for the cows,” says Eddie. “He wants to do well, and he wants the cows to do well.” His concern for the cows began to get Eddie wondering if what he had become accustomed to seeing as normal, was really an area of opportunity for improvement.
What Michael saw on Eddie’s dairy were cows that weren’t doing as well as they could be. He noticed that the manure was more loose than normal, and believed that the diet was likely over feeding protein.
Michael began working with Eddie’s brother, Elliot, to sample the forages and review the current ration. Using Cargill’s nutrient-based approach to nutrition, Michael was able to balance the level of amino acids in the diet, and reduce the total amount of protein that they were feeding. “Change is hard,” says Elliot. “But the improvements were worth it. Overall, the diet is just better and we’re much more efficient with protein.”
Elliot admits that the changes kind of freaked him out at first, but he could quickly see positive results. The ideas and technology that Michael are bringing to the dairy have Eddie hopeful that his granddaughter will be interested in the farm someday.