Interview With Dr. Valentine Nenov

Global Product Manager Ruminant Feed Additives, Huvepharma

Can you elaborate on your role as the Global Product Manager for Ruminant Feed Additives at Huvepharma? What are your key responsibilities and objectives in this position?

As global product manager in Huvepharma I am part of the global marketing team. My position is transversal and I work on daily basis with the local and regional technical and sales teams. My job is to develop adequate marketing strategies and solution in accordance to the local needs and market tends.

Given your tenure at Phileo by Lesaffre and now at Huvepharma, what insights can you share about the current and future trends in the global ruminant market? How do these trends inform your product development strategies?

Many trends and needs remain unchanged for the past 4-5 years. However, if I can choose one topic that is regularly discussed and mentioned by all stakeholders in the industry this would be sustainability. Sustainable dairy farming is something where all companies and governments are investing today and the goal is to reach carbon neutral dairy farming. If I have to give one short definition of sustainable dairy farming this would be “Producing milk in the most efficient way with respect to animal welfare ​and with no negative impact on the environment, ​while maximizing the farmer’s profit.​” In this definition you can see most important key words are: Feed efficiency, environment, animal welfare, farmer profitability.

One of the pressing challenges facing the agricultural industry is the volatility of raw material prices for feed. How do these fluctuations impact farmers, and what strategies can be employed to mitigate these effects?

First volatility of raw materials is not a new challenge and it comes often when there is some global crisis. Those fluctuation impact seriously the farmers as they drive the feed cost high for some period of time and the milk price doesn’t always follow fast enough to compensate. During some period farmers are pressed by low or negative margins and they don’t make any profit. The difficult part is to survive this period until the feed cost goes down again or the milk prices increase to compensate. Good feed formulation and better feed efficiency are key.

In light of the current market conditions, how crucial is diet management for ruminants? Could you discuss the importance of optimizing feed composition and the role of feed additives in improving animal health and productivity?

Proper diet formulation has always been important but now with the current high feed cost it is more important than ever. Good formulation will improve productivity and increase the margin over feed. Today it is almost impossible to make a good feed formulation using local raw materials without using good feed additives. Feed additives like enzymes help increase digestibility of the diet and improve feed efficiency. Better feed efficiency is critical for farmers’ profit. In other improving better feed efficiency means reducing the cost to produce one kilogram of milk.

Recently, you visited India. What were some key observations or insights you gained regarding the Indian dairy industry during your visit?

I have visited India many times in the past 10 years. My personal observation is that there is a lot of knowledge and experience among the nutritionists and academics. Also the dairy cows’ genetic potential has improved but it is not used by the farmers. The main issue today is the farmers’ knowledge and understanding about basic nutrition and farm economics. The experts in the field should put more efforts towards educating the farmers and helping them understand that every rupee invested in proper feed will return back twice.

How do you envision the future of the Indian dairy industry, considering factors such as population growth, changing consumer preferences, and technological advancements? What opportunities and challenges do you foresee for stakeholders in this industry?

India has enough cows to feed its growing population but as I said more efforts need to be put on educating farmers so they can gain more knowledge and understand. Especially the new generation of farmers that will drive the milk production in the coming years. India doesn’t need more cows but better feeding and management of the existing cows to benefit from their genetic potential.

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