Dr. Albert De Vries
Dairy Management and Economics
Dr. De Vries grew up on a dairy farm in the Netherlands. His interests are in optimization of culling and replacement strategies, statistical process control, economics of reproduction, and precision dairy farming. In his extension role, working with allied industry and dairy producers on farm financial management and to apply the results of his research interests. Dr. De Vries also teaches two undergraduate dairy courses and advises undergraduate dairy students and graduate students.
In research, Dr. De Vries hopes to make a contribution to dairy herd management science. This field tries to improve dairy farm management by valuing different decision alternatives and information under herd constraints, such as when to replace cows, reproductive management decisions, and the use of genomic testing. He typically uses simulation modeling or optimization, such as dynamic programming, linear programming, Markov chains, and Monte Carlo simulation. He does a lot of financial analysis. Excel is a favorite platform, but he also uses SAS, C++ and JAVA. Some of these models we make available as decision support aids to the public through his Extension efforts. Another part of Dr. De Vries research effort is analysis of large data sets to quantify the performance of dairy cows and herds, for example risk factors for culling, reproductive success, and seasonality of production. These results are often useful inputs in the simulation and optimization work.
Dr. De Vries teaches ANS 3250L Dairy Cattle Practicum and ANS 3251 Biology and Management of Dairy Cattle. Both courses are taught in the spring semester. ANS 3251 aims to give an overview of milk production, feeding, reproduction, health and replacement with a focus on how this knowledge helps us understand dairy management on commercial dairy farms. ANS 3250L is the practicum course that deepens the knowledge gained in ANS 3251. These courses are popular with students who want to learn more about dairy farming, but not necessarily want to make a career out of it. He is also an academic advisor to undergraduate students with an interest in dairy science and is involved with teaching a short course in advanced herd dynamics at the US Dairy Training and Education Consortium in Clovis, New Mexico.
Dr. De Vries's extension efforts mostly follow directly from his research efforts. That means that he writes and teaches about valuing decision alternatives on dairy farms, with a focus on cattle replacement, reproduction, and genetics. Part of the effort is also making decision support aids available to the public. Dr. De Vries works with dairy farmers and the allied industry. In return, the Extension work allows him to focus on questions that are important to the dairy industry in his research program. He also maintains the dairy Extension website, the dairy Extension email listserv, and edits the quarterly Dairy Update newsletter.