Randy Shaver

Dairy Science Emeritus Professor - Nutrition



Office Location

1675 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706

Randy Shaver, professor emeritus of the original Dairy Science Department at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, held a 75% extension – 25% research appointment since joining the faculty in 1988. He was born and raised on a western Pennsylvania dairy farm. After completing a B.S. degree in Dairy Science at the Pennsylvania State University, Randy received an M.S. degree from the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Maryland. He then completed his Ph.D. degree in Dairy Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1986 after conducting research at UW-Madison and the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center. Randy then spent 1986-88 working in industry.

Professor Shaver dedicated himself to translating complex nutrition research results into practical feeding recommendations for the dairy industry. Especially noteworthy in this regard was his origination of an applied nutrition conference for feed professionals in Wisconsin in 1989 that has evolved into a highly-successful (now 600 attendees) annual regional conference for feed professionals held in Dubuque, IA; 4-State Applied Nutrition & Management Conference. Randy is well recognized worldwide for his commitment to improving corn silage utilization by dairy cattle. His research and extension program focused on applied nutrition of lactating dairy cows with the major emphasis areas throughout his career, in research being corn silage and starch utilization, nutritional effects on reproduction and B-Vitamin nutrition, and in extension being forage, fiber and starch utilization, transition cow feeding and management, and nutritional effects on metabolic disorders with a focus on subacute rumen acidosis and displaced abomasum.

Major outcomes for the dairy industry that Professor Shaver’s career efforts contributed to include the following: establishment of corn silage as predominant forage in dairy cattle diets, corn silage hybrid evaluation, improved corn silage maturity and moisture content at harvest, corn silage kernel processing and improvements, optimized forage length of chop guidelines, reduced phosphorus feeding to lactating dairy cows, increased focus on starch in dairy cattle diets, development of a robust on-line version of UWEX Feedval program, use of fecal starch as a dairy farm diagnostic tool, supplementing the B-Vitamin Biotin to dairy cows, and increased use of rumen-protected methionine in dairy cattle diets.

Professor Shaver advised or co-advised over 30 masters or doctoral students at UW Madison. He authored or co-authored over 100 peer-review journal publications, over 200 scientific abstracts, over 100 popular-press articles in industry trade magazines, and several hundred newsletter articles, extension handouts or bulletins, and internet publications. He has presented over 700 invited papers at industry conferences in 46 states. Additionally, he has been an invited speaker for dairy producer and feed industry audiences in Argentina, Brazil, Canada (9 provinces), Chile, China, Columbia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Spain and Turkey.

Recognitions received include: 2019 World Dairy Expo Industry Person of the Year Award; 2014 ADSA AFIA Dairy Nutrition Award; 2008 ADSA Pioneer Hi-Bred Forage Award; 2005 ADSA Delaval Dairy Extension Award; 2002 ADSA Nutrition Professionals Applied Dairy Nutrition Award; 1993 UW-Madison CALS Pound Extension Excellence Award. Randy has served as President of American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists (2009-2010), President American College of Animal Sciences (2012-2014), and on the PDPW Board of Directors as an Advisor (2017-2019).