Getting to Know Dr. Lyle Rode
What is your official title at Novus?
NORAM Technical Services Manager, Ruminant
How long have you been with Novus?
Four years in my current position but over 20 years’ experience with Novus.
What is your background in the industry?
Seventeen years as a research scientist with Agriculture Canada; 10 years as private consultant; 4 years as feed mill nutritionist; 4 years with Novus.
Which product of Novus’s is your favorite?
I have really enjoyed working with AGRADO® Plus and its role in oxidative stress. However, my heart is in methionine and HMTBa.
What accomplishment or moment in your career are you most proud of?
In the mid 90s, I developed the methodology used to measure the ruminal bypass value for HMTBa, demonstrating its' value as a methionine source for ruminants. This technique is still used to this day to measure the bioavailability of methionine, lysine and mineral products like MINTREX®. The bypass value of HMTBa has stood the test of time and been shown repeatedly in numerous refereed publications and two meta-analyses.
What is the oddest or hardest question a customer or collaborator has ever asked you?
Oddest and hardest are a bit different. Oddest in recent memory was from a consumer that had been told that the reason their butter was too hard was because cows in Canada were fed turnips and she was wondering if that was true. Hardest questions usually are associated with what we can do nutritionally regarding cystic ovaries. I am a rumen guy, so I prefer to answer that with, “I will get back to you.” then call one of my veterinarian friends who are much smarter than me in this area.
The most off-topic question I ever got was to help the Vancouver Zoo to put together a milk replacer for baby seals.
In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing the animal agriculture industry today?
By far the biggest issue is to bridge the gap between nutritional knowledge and agricultural science with consumer fears and lack of knowledge in how food is produced. As scientists, we have failed miserably in explaining risk vs benefit. As an industry, we have failed in keeping up with consumer concerns by putting our heads in the sand and assuming that science would beat social media.
What would be your first move if you were tasked with helping the industry overcome that challenge?
I try to do what I can on a personal level on Facebook and other social media (I am not a Twitter guy) but I think supporting scientists like Drs. Kevin Folta and Joseph Schwartz would help.
When you are not promoting Novus products what do you like to do?
If health was in a different place, I would be a running machine. That is my love and my “personal space.” More time reading history books would be a good thing. However, of late my non-Novus world has been consumed with getting my daughter and son-in-law settled in a new community.
If you could go to dinner with any 3 people dead or alive, who would you choose?
This would depend upon my head space at the time. I have a few friends that would be great to include, who are incredibly insightful and better than me at asking those prodding questions. However, in my current mood I will pick those alive and from completely different backgrounds and insight. Jordan Peterson, a psychologist from the U of Toronto because of his awakening thinking; Gwyn Dyer from a global political perspective; and Sandra Bullock as she is the most intelligent person I am aware of from the entertainment world. I debated on bumping her for David Suzuki just so that we could straighten him out but I would rather have an enjoyable meal.
If you had to choose only one book for your library, what would it be?
The biggest, fattest history book that I could find.
What is your favorite beef/dairy/pork/poultry product to eat?
Definitely beef bourguignon. You can’t beat rich, hearty beef with red wine and mushrooms, but any beef stew will do.