Grober Nutrition: Leading the Way in Young Animal Nutrition

Published on Wed, 03/22/2017 - 9:47am

Grober Nutrition: Leading the Way in Young Animal Nutrition

By Steve Weisman

For over 40 years, Grober Nutrition (, a family owned company established in Cambridge, Ontario in 1974, has been at the forefront of adding value to the dairy industry by helping improve management practices, calf feeding technology, implementing group housing for calves and were one of the earliest adopters and promotors of the widely used Förster Technik automatic calf feeder. Through its production of milk replacers, Grober has become a cornerstone in the dairy industry, by providing superior early nutrition and management ideas for raising young calves and other small animals.
Grober milk replacers are designed to maximize the genetic growth potential of calves, lambs, kid-goats, piglets and foals. Grober also offers an extensive line for zoological and companion animals. This is accomplished by combining the latest in nutritional research, manufacturing technology and only the highest quality raw materials into every product. Their success is based on over 40 years of manufacturing and their own experience raising millions of calves through their integrated milk fed veal division as well as working with hundreds of dairy farms across North America. With their commitment to industry, academia and farmers, Grober Nutrition is a world-wide leader in young animal nutrition, on young animal feeding management, housing and milk replacer manufacturing technologies.

More about Grober
The Grober Group of companies doesn’t only focus on milk replacers. It is a diverse and unique group of companies that all have connections to the dairy industry. Nutrablend Foods, which is a Grober company founded in 1999, was originally conceived as a bulk toll blender of dairy ingredients for the export market.  Over the years, it evolved and grew into one of the largest sports nutrition and nutraceutical producers in both Canada and the US.  According to Jurian Bartelse, Grober US Vice President, “The knowledge gained from our participation in this industry has benefited Grober Nutrition by increasing our purchasing leverage of dairy ingredients and our intimate understanding of them.”
Another component of Grober’s diverse company profile is in the North American veal industry. This foundation goes back to the beginning of the company’s history and has provided the perfect complement to Grober’s initiatives.  Bartelse notes, “Our veal industry roots provided a number of benefits.  First of all, a tangible connection to the dairy farmer through weekly purchases of bull calves.  This weekly interaction helped keep our finger on the pulse of the dairy farm’s opportunities and challenges especially with regards to calf health and performance.”  Through the feeding of thousands of veal calves per year, the company quickly built a wealth of knowledge about formulations of milk replacers and how to best feed them to calves.  As a result, Bartelse says, “We had an incredibly diverse group of farms and production methods.  This allowed us to translate what we learned back to dairy farms.  We trial all kinds of improvements, not only in nutrition, but in feeding systems, ventilation, flooring, barn design, and this all culminated into knowledge to share with the dairy farm.”  
More and more producers are realizing the importance of feeding a milk replacer. In most commercial settings, milk from bulk tanks or individual cows can vary in macro and micro nutrients. Protein, fat, vitamins and mineral levels will vary in whole/waste milk. Whole/waste milk often contains more water or lactose. Feeding milk replacer guarantees young animals are receiving consistent nutrition. This consistency allows farmers to grow a healthy, vibrant and profitable business. According to Bartelse, “Today’s dairy farmer’s expectations have changed.  The criteria for how they measure performance has evolved.  Where in the past, a product’s benefits may have been perceived, today’s dairy farmer has access to so many tools and technology that product performance is much more likely to be measured and backed up by data.”

Research and development are important components in the Grober philosophy. One example of this is the Grober Young Animal Development Center (GYADC) is the central research facility where Grober showcases the latest in young animal nutrition, husbandry, management and technology. The GYADC has been recognized as a leader in generating group housed calf data using the latest automatic feeding technology from Förster Technik.
The foundation of the research and development is quality assurance. Providing a quality product that will optimize animal growth and health is the ultimate goal. To achieve exceptional confirmation, it’s essential to provide products that ease digestion for young animals. This begins with the creation of the right combination of raw materials. Grober’s commitment to excellence through the selection of food grade raw materials is the main priority for its Quality Assurance team. In the on-site laboratory all raw materials must pass specific standards. All finished products are also tested before leaving the plant to ensure quality standards are met and surpassed. With an internal commitment to superior quality, providing excellent products is always the top priority.
Bartelse states, “We strive to get our farmers the right product for their herd and generate performance that will improve their return on investment,” He continues,  “Providing a quality product that will maximize the animal’s growth and health is our ultimate goal”

What customers say
Jeanne Wormuth, manager of Hourigan’s Dairy Farm near Elbridge, New York speaks positively of the Grober products. “I have used Grober milk replacer with my calves for close to 15 years. I love the consistency and quality of the powder and how our calves look and grow on it. In addition to a great product, their service and support are a great resource for me. They have an excellent staff that has extensive experience and knowledge with raising calves.”
Likewise, K. A. Sunset Farm near Schaghticoke, New York has been an avid user of Grober Nutrition milk replacer for several years and continues to be an advocate.
Sandy, owner of K.A. Sunset, notes that a friend had recommended the product based on the increased performance of their calves. Sandy says, “We have a fairly aggressive weaning program (between 35-40 days) so we were concerned with calf performance at first. But our calves are healthier. They look nice and tall, with shiny coats.” When asked what feature stands out most about Grober milk replacer Sandy points out, “The improvement in their health has reduced scours, plus those that start to scour recover very quickly. Because they are healthier, we have reduced costs in treatments.” In addition, the calves have better gain at time of weaning now that they are using Grober milk replacer.  “We are pleased with Grobers service and recommend their products for performance.”

Coming to the United States
With its long-established footprint in Canada, Grober Nutrition has now expanded to Auburn, New York. According to Bartelse, the company wanted to expand to the United States and felt the northeast with its many dairy facilities and farms was an excellent area to locate. Plus, it was still close to its Canadian headquarters. At the same time, Bartelse says, “We’re located right across the street from the Cayuga Milk Ingredients (CMI) plant, which will provide us with a milk permeate perfect as an ingredient for our fat filled powder manufacturing.”

As a result, the designing stage began nearly three years ago. Groundbreaking began in November of 2015, and Grober Nutrition USA is just now beginning its operations in its 60,000-square foot facility. The new plant is specialized in that it has three main capabilities: evaporation, drying and dry blending ingredients for milk replacer production. The evaporator allows the group to concentrate diluted products, such as milk permeate or excess fluid milk. Once evaporated, those products can then be mixed with fats and other proteins and dried to create a fat filled powder, which is one of the main ingredients in milk replacers.
“We decided to make the investment in our own dryer to be in control of our own destiny with regards to ingredients. After careful consideration of the ‘players’ in the fat filled powder market, we decided that we wanted to enter the market ourselves to ensure superior quality and unlimited supply.”
Bartelse continues, “We truly believe this is a state-of-the-art facility built close to human food standards. This is quite unique in the industry. Grober Nutrition is raising the bar with its new facility. Only the best will do.”
Although the plant is located in the northeast, Bartelse says Grober Nutrition products are available to dairy producers throughout the United States. “Most of our sales are direct to the farm, and we can deliver pallet quantities. However, we want to expand and are working on distribution opportunities. We are also open to feed dealers looking for a milk replacer line.”
Bartelse concludes, “The team’s goal at our U. S. facility is to bring our customers the same dedication to top quality, forward thinking innovation, balanced nutrition and passion for our milk replacer products and young animal expertise.”