Livestock health and farm business viability drives animal scientist
It’s unlikely you will find Nelani Roux asking farmers about their silage or net wrap.
Sure, she’s the Agri Novatex Australia Gippsland and Tasmania Territory Manger, and selling crop packing is part of her job. But for the qualified animal scientist, getting the most from homegrown feed comes back to understanding the overall farm business – especially the livestock.
And that’s the way she likes it.
“I always talk to farmers about why they are making silage,” she said. “I ask ‘who are you feeding it to? Why are you feeding it to them? What do you want out of your silage?’ then we look at how we can make it better. My job is to help them and their animals.”
Nelani grew-up in South Africa with a love of animals and studied veterinary science before deciding she’d prefer to concentrate on “keeping them healthy” through nutrition.
She completed a Bachelor of Animal Science at the University of Pretoria before moving into beef feedlot industry and focusing of silage production with agricultural feed company Vitam – the local distributors for Lallemand.
“In that role spent a lot of time at feedlots helping them set up silage from scratch,” Nelani said.
“From the bunker, to what to plant for silage, when to cut and everything in between – from start to finish. I also did a lot of work with silage microbes, improving farmers understanding of why reducing the oxygen quickly was important and how inoculant can improve feed quality.”
Moving to Australia, Nelani worked in the dairy industry for a feed additive company before returning to concentrating on hay and silage with Integrated Packaging.
Now, working with Agri Novatex Australia team, she’s continuing to assist farmers to produce quality feed for their livestock.
“To do that you need a good quality net, good quality wrap and good quality inoculant,” she said. “But you also need to get the feeding bit right – to the right animals – cut at the right stage and chose the right crops. For me it is more about the whole picture, it’s about what is our impact on the farm. I want to leave a farm and for the farmer to say ‘yes, she’s made a difference, my animals will be better off for it, therefor my business will be better off for it’.”
This focus on the farm business is something Nelani enjoys about working with Agri Novatex. “We are not focused on fodder or focused on wrapping, we are focused on farming,” she said. “Agri Novatex Australia is not going to be just be another plastics company; we are going to be a partner with the farmer and help them create better quality feed.”