Another Successful Minnesota Nutrition Conference

Another September has gone by and the MN Nutrition Conference set a new record in attendance (over 300 people attended the conference this year) premiering at a new venue as it continues its tradition of delivering quality, leading-edge, science-based programming in nutrition of ruminant and monogastric species and horses. The general session of the conference convened speakers to address the main theme: “The Future of Animal Production”. The City Center Hotel in Mankato was the site of the 78th version of this conference. This conference is one of only a handful of conferences of such scope remaining in the country. DuPont kindly sponsored the pre-conference symposium and aligned its program with the general theme of the conference: “Nutrition in the Future”.

At a time when the regulatory and societal climate surrounding application of technologies in feeding and managing domestic animal species is changing, the pre-conference symposium committee and the conference committee put forth an outstanding effort in recruiting world-renowned speakers assembled for these first-day sessions. Speakers in the DuPont symposium highlighted the relevance of animal, gut, microbiome nutrition, strategies to enhance efficiency of feed conversion in beef and dairy cattle, and the role of enzymes and direct-fed microbials in nutrition.

In the general session of the conference, Ms. Leah McGrath, dietician of Ingles Supermarkets in Asheville, NC, led the program describing consumer attitudes and the conversation around perceptions on food nutritional quality, source and environmental impact. This outstanding presentation opened up the forum for a discussion on technologies to rely less on antibiotic use by Dr. Clayton Johnson of Carthage Veterinary Service of Carthage, IL, and a vision for incorporating animal comfort and welfare measures in livestock production by Dr. Courtney Daigle, Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University. A challenge to consider the impact of removing approved feed additive and growth-promoting implant technology tools, and restrictions on certain antibiotic use in beef cattle production on economic and biologic efficiency was laid out elegantly by Tom Peters, owner of Superior Attitude Livestock Technologies, LLC of Oregon, IL. The evening was rounded out by an award presentation to graduate student winners of the Second Graduate Student Poster competition graciously hosted by the Midwest Chapter of ARPAS, and a review of mycotoxin testing and performance assessment tools by Dr. Alexandra Weaver of Alltech, Inc. Alltech, Inc. was the sponsor of a pleasant evening reception that followed.

The second day led to excellent opportunities for conference attendees to choose from one of three concurrent sessions focused on monogastric, ruminant or equine nutrition. All these sessions convened outstanding speakers in various salient research areas. These areas included: vitamin and mineral nutrition of monogastric and ruminant species, the role of nutrition in immune-regulation in monogastric and equine species, use of enzymes and of antibiotic alternatives in monogastric species, forage quality and management for ruminant and equine species, amino acid nutrition of monogastric species, nutrition and management of the transition dairy cow and those milked by robotic milkers, fiber requirements of sows, feed formulation in alternative poultry production systems, and effect of growing phase strategy on finishing and carcass performance of feedlot cattle.

The positive impact this installment of the MN Nutrition Conference was evident from the abundance of positive comments in the evaluation forms left by participants. In addition, the organizing committee and conference staff received many expressions of gratitude from attendees and speakers alike. As the committee prepares to meet to evaluate conference outcomes and plan for the 79th Minnesota Nutrition Conference, they kindly encourage you to submit topic and speaker ideas.