Project 1: Evaluation of a Commercial Product — Guide and Resources
Description & Deadlines:
The goal of this project is to help you learn how to evaluate claims made by commercial feed companies in marketing their feeds and feed additives products. This year, students will be working individually on this project. The main deadlines in completing this project are as follows:
- Plan on your own how you will be conducting this project (see more below);
- Product identification and selection: Submit your choices by: Thursday Sept. 14, 9:45 a.m. (see more below); product assignment will be finalized in class on Tuesday September 19 (see more below),
- Written report in drop box Friday Oct. 13 11:00 p.m. (see below),
- Power point presentation in dropbox before 5:00 pm the day before your scheduled presentation,
- In-class power point presentations on Oct. 24, 26, and 31 (see below for oral presentation grading rubrics and see the product list and presentation schedule page for presentation schedule.)
1. Planning: It is highly recommended that you attend World Dairy Expo and visit the booth of the company where information about your selected product will be available. However you should do so "homework" BEFORE, DURING and AFTER World Dairy Expo and you need to make a plan and mark you calendar in order to complete the major steps and meet the deadlines of this project successfully.
2. Product Selection (one of two choices): Choose two products from the the World Dairy Expo Website listing of the Participating Companies in the category of "Feed and Feed Additives." Use the category pull down menu if necessary. Follow instructions in the templates and upload your template document with your top two choices in the drop box by the deadline (see above).
- Colostrum replacer
- Calf starter
- Dry cow products (e.g., anionic salts)
- Macro/micro mineral supplements (e.g., Zn-related products)
- Vitamin supplements
- Feed additives (e.g., ionophore)
- Protein mix/amino acid supplements
- Energy "Booster" (e.g., fat-related products)
- Direct-fed microbials
- Silage inoculants
Second, study the validity of the marketing argument using scientific or conference proceeding literature by gathering, analyzing, and interpreting the literature. In other words completing a critical analysis of the product (or related nutritional issue) is what you need to do to complete sections 4 and 6 of the report (and may be section 5). Note that these two sections are more than half of the final grade of the written report. You should be using the library resources to complete this part of the project. Here are suggestions for how to proceed:
- Search the scientific literature using the UW-Madison Library Databases; Barbara Hamel from the Steenbock library has compiled an Animal Science Research Guide, which include links to databases, book sources, streaming videos, etc.
- One of your best guess to find a dairy related nutrition topic explained from a practical perspective is the S-PAC (searchable Proceedings of Animal Conferences). The S-PAC database is available free of charge at the Steenbock Library;
- Other databases that I like to use include "CABI CAB abstracts, but there are plenty of potentially useful Agriculture & Veterinary databases that you will find under the Animal Science / Veterinary Medicine databases;
5. In-class power point presentation: There will external evaluators (Dairy Science Faculty) on the presentation dates. It is deliberate that your presentation is time-limited. The idea is to "force" you to focus only on the important highlights of the product, your critical analysis of it, and your conclusions (recommendations). Practice your presentation so it is well-rehearsed. See more details on this page: "What makes a good power point presentation?".
This project counts for 10% of the final grade for the class. Both the written material and the oral presentation will be graded on a scale of 0 to 20 pts. In calculating the final grade for project 1, a weighing of 0.7 and 0.3 will be given to the written material and the oral presentation, respectively. The final grade will be adjusted with your team analysis and evaluation assessment.
Expectations: Written Report Grading Rubrics: The Table below provides the grading rubrics for the written material.
|Item||Max pts||What Max points "look like"||What a "zero" looks like|
|1- Company's product description||1.5||Well-introduced, complete and clear description||Poorly written, incomplete, and vague introduction|
|2- Company's recommended usage||1.5||Well-described, complete and clearly explained||Poorly written, incomplete, and vague explanation|
|3- Company's marketing claims||1.5||Well-described, complete and clearly explained||Poorly written, incomplete, and vague explanation|
|4- Your review of the literature||6.0||- Plenty of evidence of having accessed and used library database
- Appropriate and relevant citation in the text
- Evidence of critical thinking in evaluating literature
- Reviewed ALL claims
|- No, or irrelevant reference to citation(s) of scientific literature
- Provide only anecdotal evidence
- Fail to connect literature with marketing claims
- Poor excuses for failing to find relevant literature
|5- Your cost to benefit ratio (CBR) analysis||3||- Convincing, thorough, realistic and clearly explained
- Understood and explained limitations of own analysis
|- Unconvincing, incomplete, unrealistic, simplistic or confusing
- Used the company's CBR analysis without a critical review
|6- Your recommendations||3||Ability to draw correct and relevant conclusion(s) based on the review||Inappropriate, irrelevant, contradictory or unfounded conclusion(s)|
|7- Citations||1||At least two citations are listed and cited as per the instructions||- No citation listed
- Incomplete citations
|8- Overall "Content"||1.5
||- The written report makes for a "one comprehensive story"||- Poorly documented analysis that is not internally consistent, concise or well focused.|
|8- Overall "Effort"||1.0
||- Evidence of significant investment in time and effort (clarity, etc.)
- Attention to formatting details and clarity of expression are evident.
- Follow all instructions
|- Evidence of low level of commitment in time and effort
- No attention to formatting, grammar, and spelling.
- Failed to follow instructions.
Expectations: Oral Presentation Grading Rubrics: The Table below provides the grading rubrics for the oral presentation. Items 1-4 focus on content (11 points) and item 5 focuses on ability to deliver a powerful oral presentation (9 pts).
|Item||Max pts||What Max points "look like"||What a "zero" looks like|
|1- Product description, usage & marketing claims||1||- Draw the audience in, with a clear and complete explanation||- Introduce the product in general and confusing terms|
|2- Cost to Benefit Ratio (CBR) analysis||2||- Thorough, realistic, and clearly explained
- Understand limitation of own analysis
|- Incomplete, unrealistic, simplistic and confusing
- Uncritical of the CBR provided by the company (if applicable)
|3- Review of the literature||6||- Make clear and relevant references to citations during the presentation
- Focus on deep understanding and critical evaluation
- Review ALL claims
|- No or irrelevant reference of literature review during the presentation
- Provide anecdotal evidence only
- Fail to show critical thinking in evaluating literature
|4- Recommendations||3||- Bring the audience to the correct and relevant conclusion(s) based on the review||Inappropriate, irrelevant, contradictory or unfounded conclusion(s)|
|5- Quality of oral presentation||3
|- Well-rehearse, perfect timing (3.5 - 4.0 min)
- Speak with clarity and confidence
-Engaging and convincing, revealing big effort in preparing
| - Unprepared, poor timing (too short or too long)
- Hardly audible speaking voice
- Boring and unconvincing, revealing little effort in preparing.
Additional Resources to Evaluate Feed Ingredients, Additives and Ration Composition: You may find the following documents useful to evaluate critically the composition of the ration and to perform a cost analysis. Use these documents as guidelines. Feel free to use other (reliable) sources of information in completing this project.
- On-line Scientific Literature and Conference Proceedings
- On-line UW-Madison library database: UW-libraries database search. Search databases by subject and search the "Animal Science / Vet Medicine databases
- On-line database of Conference Proceedings: Searchable Proceedings of Animal Conferences (S-PAC) free of charge for ADSA members and accessible free of charge also through the Steenbock library. Note: if the previous link does not work type S-PAC in the search box of the UW-libraries database search.
- Proceedings of the Western Dairy Management Conference: From this web site, you are one click away from all the papers presented since 1993.
- Proceedings of the Ohio Tri-State Nutrition conference.
- eXtension web site: This is a USDA web site where you can find a series of articles written by dairy scientists for professionals in the dairy industry. The resource areas the most relevant for this class includes: Calf and Heifer Management and Nutrition of Milking and Dry Cows
- University of Wisconsin Extension: Dairy Cattle Nutrition has a Web site compiling publications, presentations, the proceedings of the 4-state Dairy Nutrition & Management Conference, and decision aid spreadsheets particularly relevant for producers in the Midwest.
- The UW-Madison Soil Sci. Dpt. and Dairy science Dpt. have a Soil and forage analysis lab at Marshfield and Madison. You can learn about their services and fee as well use their on-line searchable database of lab results. An excellent resource to compare results of feed / TMR analyses of your own (project 2) samples..
- NRC-Feed-Composition-Tables.xls that we discussed in class. This is the spreadsheet that includes composition of feeds as listed in Table 15.1 - 15.3 of the 2001 NRC publication and used as a default values in the NRC ration evaluation software. Use this document to assess ingredient composition.
- Ration-Guidelines.doc: Thi document provides ration guidelines describing expected dry matter intake (kg/d and lbs/d) across different stages of lactation and the expected nutrient content of the ration. Note that these guidelines illustrate also the impact of low dry matter intake versus high dry matter intake in the first few weeks after calving on the expect nutrient concentration in the diet. Use this document to assess dry matter intake and ration nutrient composition.
- Feedstuffs Magazine has a 2011 Reference Issue that includes analysis of "rare" feeds, articles on mycotoxins, and nutrient requirements of farm animals and pets.
- On-line database I: UW-Madison Extension Feed val on the Dairy Management web site
- On-line database II: Farm prices and Market prices of dairy feeds are available as a searcheable Database from the Economic Research Services (ERS) of the USDA.
- Feed Price List — Penn State: The Dairy Team at Penn State compiles dairy feed price on a regular basis. Look at the bottom of the page for "Feed Price List". If you do not have any other price information, this list is a good start, not only to pick prices but also to study the relative prices of various feeds. Download: September 2015 feed prices.
- Feedstuffs, the weekly magazine for agribusiness, publishes every week market prices of livestock feed ingredients. Wisconsin prices are likely to be similar to those listed for Chicago or Minneapolis.
- The Agricultural Electronic Bulletin Board of the University of Missouri has an excellent and regularly updated By-product Feed Price Listing (unless otherwise noted, prices are $/ton.)
- Feed Additives in Dairy Nutrition and Management: Mike Hutjens at Illinois has done a great job of summarizing various feed additives used in dairy cow ration. The first version of this document, which was presented at the 1993 Western Dairy Management Conference has outdated prices, but includes a more extensive list of feed additives. Click here to download it. Use this document to help evaluate specific feed additives in the ration of dairy cows.
- The on-line version of the Dairy Herd Management Magazine has a series of "Resource Centers" providing links, articles and information about commercial products related to newborns, heifers, minerals, forage, and more.