Kenneth Botha was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa, where he also received his B.Sc. Agric. and B.Sc. Agric. Hons. (Animal Nutrition & Physiology) degree’s in 1990 and 1991 from the University of the Free State. He recently completed his Master’s degree in Veterinary Science, cum laude, at Onderstepoort (University of Pretoria) with the topic “Osteochondrosis in Cattle in Southern Africa”.
During 1992 he started working for the S.A. Holstein Association as Technical Advisor and later as the manager responsible for research and development. He joined AFGRI Animal Feeds, in 1995 and was later promoted to Technical Director, mainly responsible for managing the ruminant technical team, product development, research, and innovation to leading dairy farms.
In 2011 he started NutriGenics, a nutrition company with the main goal to supply differentiating animal feed products, strategies, and solutions to the ruminant markets. His group later joined the Kaonne group as the Technical Director, shareholder, and ruminant specialist.
Despite spending a large part of his career in the commercial industry, Kenneth Botha still produced many international and local scientific, semi-scientific and other publications and gave numerous presentations internationally and locally. These include 96 popular press articles, 14 scientific and six co-authored publications, mainly on ruminant nutrition and management.
In 2015 he received the AFMA’s Technical Person of the Year award for his scientific and commercial contributions in the South African Animal Feeds industry and his commitment to serve the industry by serving on many committees, like the AFMA technical committee and the SA Dairy Industry’s research and development panel.
Kenneth lives his passion for farming through his own intensive precision farming operation, Argos Farms, since 2012 in the Free State, where many research trials are done to help farmers and animal scientists to improve sheep farming in South Africa.
Emiliano is a scientist working with the development of NDS in connection with various institutions and he is also an extraordinaire senior lecturer at Stellenbosch University. He completed an M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in Ruminant Nutrition from Cornell University in 2011, on fibre digestibility in dairy cows in support of the CNCPS. Since then he has examined the role of carbohydrate digestion and site of digestion on the partitioning of those substrates to milk and other functions in dairy cows. He has also looked at better characterizing various feeds for starch and protein. He has multidisciplinary collaborations with European, American, Australian and African scientists and institutions. He has supervised about 20 Master and Ph.D. students and published more than 60 papers and abstracts.
Ermanno Melli is Animal Nutritionist, Ruminant specialist. After completed his studies in Agricultural Science, he took courses in Animal Health, Statistical Science and Biomathematics (University of Parma), Cattle Management and Nutrition (University of Piacenza), Ruminant Nutrition (INRA – France), Dairy Cattle Nutrition with CNCPS model (Cornell University – USA). After a farm experience in Canada, he worked as herd manager in two Italian dairy herds and then started his career as a private Ruminant nutritionist and management consultant for Dairy Cattle, Beef Cattle, Water Buffalo and Sheep. Always involved in the development and field application of nutritional models, he is currently CEO & CTO at RUM&N Sas – Reggio Emilia (Italy), mainly engaged in the application of biological models and as coordinator of the project for the development of the NDS Professional platform. Ermanno is involved in training session activities on biological models and advanced use of dynamic nutritional software with several private nutritionist groups and Feed Industries. He has more than 30 years of experience in applied animal nutrition and has an active extension program working with dairy and beef producers.
Matthieu’s family is coming from the center of France where they had a traditional dairy farm (60 Montbéliardes) and a small dairy processing plant. Matthieu is Ingénieur en Agriculture and holds a Master in Agri-industry management from ESSEC Business school.
All his career path has been devoted to dairy with various Technical or Innovation positions in feed, feed additives or veterinary companies such as Moulin Guénard, Provimi, Boehringer-Ingelheim or Elanco.
Based on 20 years of interactions with dairy farmers, nutritionists and researchers in Europe, US, Middle East, and South Africa, he built a good understanding of various production systems and has a moto “All systems are different and challenges vary but a cow is a cow and we all make the same mistakes”
Today Matthieu oversees dairy product and business development for Ajinomoto Animal Nutrition Europe. His main topics of interest are nutrition and health strategies during the Transition Period, dairy cow productivity and system adaptation for more sustainable dairy farming.
Matthieu will talk about Amino Acids Nutrition for dairy cows with a focus on lysine characteristics, role, and functions at different times of the lactation.
Robert Bennett is a professional nutritionist, with broad experience and specialising in Amino Acid nutrition of dairy cows. He graduated with an M.Sc. in Animal Science from AgroParisTech (Paris, France), under Professor Daniel Sauvant, and has been a practicing nutritionist throughout his career in the animal nutrition industry.
He began his career with a large feed, minerals and premix company in Normandy and Brittany, in the heart of animal production in France, where he started as a field nutritionist and farm advisor. He thereafter branched out into feed formulation, product development, and production plants co-ordination.
For over 30 years now with Adisseo, one of the world leaders in amino acids, vitamins, enzymes, and other nutritional additives and solutions, Robert has held a number of positions within the company.
This started with the development of Smartamine® M and its launch in France and Europe. He then moved to the US to launch Adisseo’s dairy business there, after having obtained FDA registration.
Upon his return to Europe, Robert led the development of MetaSmart®, Adisseo’s second-generation rumen-protected methionine product specifically designed for pelleted feeds, while Global Product Manager for ruminants.
As the use of amino acids in dairy nutrition increased, he focused again on EMEA as Ruminant Business Manager for the region, then for several years also managed Adisseo’s monogastric business in Spain, Portugal, and Italy.
Following the company’s decision to market its ruminant products directly on its own across EMEA, Robert has now focused again full time on ruminants. As Category Manager for the Region, he is in charge of technical and marketing services to support the growth of amino acid nutrition in dairy cows.
Robert’s publications include patents, scientific articles, but above all technical articles and presentations for the animal nutrition industry and trade media.
Dr Fernando Valdez is an accomplished livestock professional, contributing acute expertise and experience in nutrition and health. In his current position as Global Vice President of Business Development with Kemin Industries, he is in charge of promoting the growth of the dairy and beef industry worldwide with the introduction of new technologies.
Dr Valdez holds a Bachelor’s degree in dairy science from the University of Florida, a Master’s degree in dairy science from Oklahoma State University, a Ph.D. in animal nutrition from Washington State University, and a Post-Doctoral degree in animal science from the University of Minnesota. Complementing his depth of education his more recent focus in the research and development of metabolites that promote intestinal health, specifically in the intestinal tight junction integrity.
Allan was raised on a dairy farm in the KZN Midlands and attained his BAgric degree from UKZN in Pietermaritzburg. He did an MSc in Animal Nutrition at Colorado State University, USA before returning to work in Development Agriculture, livestock handling and then joined Meadow Feeds as a TA in KZN in 1992. In 1995 he started NuTec Southern Africa, the forerunner to the present-day Cargill Animal Nutrition premix company, for the Astral/Provimi JV, where he was promoted to MD from 2000-2004. In 2004 he was transferred to Australia with the Provimi company and, having successfully affected a turnaround of the Australian operation, sold the premix business for the Holding company in 2008. In 2009 he established on his own consulting service, MacNeil Business Solutions, offering nutrition, product and marketing advice and support to various nutrition companies in Australia and overseas. He is presently the regional consultant for the Far East, SE Asia, Australasia and Southern Africa for Volac International Limited and Volac Wilmar Feed Ingredients, based in the UK. He is passionate about improving farming best practice and profitability and believes firmly that “Attitude is more important than Aptitude” in employing and developing people in business.
Dr Luiz Ferraretto is originally from Brazil where he earned his B.S. in Animal Science from São Paulo State University in 2008. Immediately after the completion of his B.S. Degree, Luiz joined the University of Wisconsin-Madison for an internship (2009) followed by an M.S. (2011) and Ph.D. (2015) in dairy science with focus on applied dairy nutrition and forage quality. After the completion of his Ph.D., Luiz joined The William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute as a Post-doctoral Research Associate. Currently, Luiz is an Assistant Professor of Livestock Nutrition in the Department of Animal Sciences at University of Florida and his research interests are applied dairy cattle nutrition and management with emphasis on starch and fiber utilisation by dairy cows, corn silage and high-moisture corn quality and digestibility, the use of alternative by-products as feed ingredients, and supplementation of feed additives to lactating cows.
Prof Lourens Erasmus is an Associate professor in the Department of Animal and Wildlife Sciences at the University of Pretoria. Prior to joining UP in 2002 was he a Specialist Researcher at the Agricultural Research Council, focusing his research on the protein and amino acid nutrition of dairy cattle. Current research emphasis is on the use of natural feed additives such as phytonutrients buffers and yeast to replace antibiotics in ruminant diets and potential complementary effects between additives. He is also involved in research on the impact of feed additives on the duodenal amino acid profile of rumen bacteria in ruminant diets and supplementation strategies for grazing dairy cows. Prof Erasmus’ research has been published in 60 peer-reviewed scientific journals. He is a prior recipient of the silver medal of the South African Society of Animal Science and the Barney van Niekerk award for significant research contribution to the SA Feed industry. He has supervised 43 Masters and Doctoral students and established student exchange programs between UP and the Universities of Sassari and UC Davis. Prof Erasmus is an NRF rated scientist registered with SACNASP and a member of SASAS, ADSA and the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists.
After graduating from Onderstepoort, Martin spent time at the University of Florida in the USA completing an internship, residency & MS degree. He operated a solo production animal practice in Florida for 6 years. Moving to New Mexico he was in a 100% dairy practice for another 6 years, with 30 000 cows in the practice. He went on to become a dairy manager working with herds in Michigan, Indiana & Texas, ranging in size from 600 to 5 500 milking cows. Starting out as a traditional veterinarian, his career evolved to include consulting, herd management, nutrition & some agronomy. He has also spent time in China & has been a Senior Lecturer (Dairy Herd Health) in the Department of Production Animal Studies at Onderstepoort since 2014.
Dr Hinner Köster received his B.Sc. Agric. in 1986, his B.Sc. Agric. (Hons.) in 1987 and his M.Sc. Agric. (Animal Nutrition) in 1990 at the University of Pretoria. In 1995 he completed his Ph.D. in Ruminant Nutrition at Kansas State University, USA, where he still serves as adjunct faculty Professor since 2008. He has published more than 40 international and national scientific papers and abstracts, more than 600 popular scientific papers and presented 22 papers at international conferences and symposia. He further is a member of the American Society of Animal Science, South African Society of Animal Science where he served on Council until 2012, and South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions. His career positions include Chief Nutritionist of Kynoch Feeds, Technical Director of Afgri Animal Feeds, Managing Director of Scinetic, co-owner and Executive Director of Animate Animal Health (Pty) Limited, and CEO of Kanhym. Currently, he is a shareholder and Executive Director of the Kaonne Investments group. He played a major role since 1998 at the SA Animal Feed Manufacturers Association (AFMA) and acted in various capacities on the Board of Directors (Chairman 2005-2007) and Chairman of all the Industry Committees. He currently also is the President of the SA Hereford Breeders’ Society as well as President of the Convocation of the University of Pretoria. He also is a senior and interbreed cattle judge and represented South Africa since 2000 in 5 countries at World Hereford Conferences. He further co-owns the well-known Hereford stud, Vicedale Herefords. During 1999, Dr Köster received the Afgri Technical Person of the Year award, in 2001 the Barney van Niekerk/AFMA Technical Person of the Year award, in July 2007 the Silver Medal by the South African Society of Animal Science and in September 2008, the Gauteng Agriculturist of the Year Award.
Ockert obtained his Ph.D. in Animal Nutrition in 2018 at the University of the Free State. He started his career as a junior lecturer in the Department of Animal, Wildlife and Grassland Sciences (2006) at the same institution where he is currently a lecturer. Most of his research is focused on sheep growth performance (nutrition), diet effects on mutton fatty acid composition (Ph.D.) and feed quality. Ockert is the primary author of nine peer-reviewed scientific publications (three under review) and 77 popular papers (ruminant nutrition and feeds related), as well as 22 congress contributions. He also manages the Jersey herd at the University of the Free State, acts as an external assessor for tertiary institutions, actively participates as an AFMA technical sub-committee member and was editor of the AFMA Matrix. Ockert also consults for the formal feed industry regarding feed formulations (ruminants).