Originally from California, awarded by the American Dairy Science Association

California continues to create success stories.

The American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) will hold a symposium in honor of Californian David Mertens. On Tuesday, ADSA will give four presentations on its work at its annual meeting in Kansas City.

While working in the U.S. Department of Agriculture and working in the field, Mertens achieved many accomplishments. He worked to develop analytical methods for defining the minimum fiber requirements for dairy cows; dietary fiber in ruminants (cows, for example, herbivores with patches); mathematical modeling of digestion; and the creation of a system for designing optimal rations for dairy cows using dietary fiber has led to its popularity.

Born in Jefferson City, Mertens spent much of his youth in California. At a high school in California, he initially planned to partner with his father for the family’s dairy work. However, after taking the SAT exam, he received a scholarship and was encouraged by his professional agriculture teacher to pursue a university degree.

Mertens began studying dairy science at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he won a scholarship to help with a two-year graduate job. Although he was initially hesitant to continue in school, he insisted that his professor pursue a doctorate at Cornell University. After earning a degree in nutrition, he went on to teach Biochemistry and Biophysics with minors at Iowa State University and the University of Georgia.

“Eventually, (my teacher) convinced me and I had the opportunity to work with a well-known researcher in the chemistry of feed analysis and feed evaluation,” Mertens said. “I moved to Cornell and later spent 10 years teaching and researching. Then I came to the USDA and did full-time research throughout my career. So that’s how it came about.”

He is proud of his achievements in the development of an “amylase-treated NDF (natural fiber detergent) method” that measures fiber and feed, which is reproducible for analytical laboratories. It is recognized as an international standard for measuring fiber in dairy cows.

He explained in a note to the Democrat that the method is also supported by the Association of Official Analytical Chemists. This organization ensures the safety and health impact of food products on government, industry and employment

Given its success, the American Dairy Science Association elected a member of the organization “a recognition that is given to less than 0.2 percent of its members during the lifetime of teaching and research contributions.”

“The use of the NDF both to evaluate feed and to encourage farmers to grow and harvest higher quality fodder juices has led to significant improvements in the production and health of dairy cows,” Mertens said. “I did a lot of work (also) in the mid-1980s trying to show farmers how to use fiber to formulate better diets for dairy cows. These two things were easily accepted by farmers and helped by nutritionists. Putting their rations together. And that’s probably the biggest impact. yours. ‘

Mertens said this is what prompted him most in his research. He explained that he always liked to learn new things, whether it was theoretical or basic science. He always wanted to make sure that what he was working on would have an application to improve the production and health of dairy cows so that he could produce high quality human food.

However, this is only part of what he has achieved since he received his doctorate in 1973. A statement sent to the Democrat stated that Mertens had published more than 150 scientific articles, written five sections in science and technical books, and traveled. Countries such as France, Italy, Sicily, Padua and Denmark for research in fiber digestion and computer modeling.

The ADSA Symposium for Recognition of Mertens will be called the “Joint Ruminant Nutrition / Forages and Pastures Symposium – Role of Fiber Analyzes and Digestibility in Feed Evaluation and Ration Formulation.”

The four presentations will focus on Physically Efficient Physical Nutrition, Physical Characteristics of Nutrition, and Transition Speeds; and “Mertensen’s teaching, research, and application of the NDF in feed assessment and feed formulation.”

As long as Dr. Mertens no longer lives in California, he will always acknowledge the positive influences that led him to turn to science.

“I have to say, when I was growing up on a dairy farm in California, Missouri, I didn’t have the opportunity to do the things I expected,” Mertens said. “But I have to say that I’ve had three great teachers in my life who have had a tremendous impact on what I’ve done. And he was one of them (a professor of professional agriculture) at the California Institute. how we can use what we are interested in and learn to help dairy farmers. “

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