Heidi Rossow is an Associate Professor of Ruminant Nutrition with UC Davis Veterinary School located at the Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center (VMTRC) in Tulare, California. Growing up she split her time between the family ranch in Hollister CA and school in Silicon Valley. In college at UC Davis, she lived at the campus dairy and became interested in how nutrition impacts the health and production of dairy cows. After graduating she worked for Animal Science Extension at UC Davis as a technician on several research programs and helped support and develop record keeping and ration formulation programs. This led to blending the two worlds of cows and computers by learning how to use math to understand nutrient flow in and out of the cow.
After obtaining her PhD in nutrition, she created a standalone program that uses Molly, the metabolic model of a dairy cow (Baldwin, 1995), to evaluate rations and cow performance, consulted for a couple of feed and dairy related companies including Dairy New Zealand and then worked in Human Nutrition with USDA until returning to cows with UC Davis at the VMTRC. At the VMTRC, she is able to continue to blend basic nutrition research with large herd commercial dairy research. Her areas of research are computer modeling of nutrient metabolism and systems analysis of dairy feed management and production including developing methods to evaluate cow and calf performance, and feeding consistency. She has developed nutrition monitoring programs to minimize metabolic disease in dairy cattle such as methods using feed markers (lignin, fat and chloride) to test feeding consistency and feed sorting, ultrasound of muscle and fat to identify calves that do not have adequate nutrient stores, use of rumen pH and blood parameters (glucose, fatty acids, ketone bodies) as markers of rumen and liver function and estimation of mitochondrial oxygen consumption and enzyme activities to understand metabolic disease and its impact on feed efficiency, growth and milk production.
She is a member of the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists, has served on the California Animal Nutrition Conference organizing committee and is currently serving on the National Animal Nutrition Program (USDA NRSP-9) modeling and coordinating committees. Her experience with academics and industry helped her realize just how difficult it is to gain practical experience and skills while attending college. As a result she created the Feed Industry Fellowship in Dairy Nutrition with a focus on feeding systems, supported by California Dairy Research Foundation to give graduate students a chance to work and learn in the dairy industry and perform research in a large commercial herd setting. She has mentored over 30 graduate and undergraduate students in animal science who have gone on to veterinary school, graduate school and industry and teaches livestock nutrition, nutrition interactions with disease and feed management to veterinary students.