Marie Landry-Blais

My days are typically spent on the road with sales reps, giving presentations at dairy or forage events, doing trials for the company or at home working on different projects. I meet producers on a regular basis, work with nutritionists and even connect with veterinarians.

I firmly believe teamwork on a dairy farm is critical to herd health and productivity; there are many experts involved in cow care. Meeting other professionals involved ensures the decisions made in the field match the needs in the barn.

My job is to be ahead of producers’ concerns. Depending on the season and how the season is progressing, I send relevant information to the sales reps to relay to producers. For example, in April, a common concern is winter survival or establishment of alfalfa.

In May, we are usually talking about the state of seeding followed by management of the first cut of hay silage. In September, producers often want to know what to expect for quality for this year’s corn silage.

Another way to stay ahead is to stay close to producers. For me, it’s important to have annual meetings with them. I want to know where the business is going, what their goals are and how we can help.


Our territory is large, so I am usually on the road four days of the week visiting customer farms or attending different events. There are many sales reps in Quebec, and I try to spend at least one day with each sales rep every year.

Some areas in the province are more dairy-focused than others, so I will spend more time with some sales reps than others, but I feel it’s important to touch base with the entire territory.

During busy times of the year, customer issues do need to be prioritized; sometimes a rep will call with a specific issue, and if it’s an urgent situation, I make sure I get there first.

Most producers are within two hours of driving from my home, so it’s a full day, but we try to make it as efficient as possible and visit growers in that area at the same time.

I like to plan my day at least one day before. My typical workday starts at 7 a.m., when I meet the sales rep who I am working with that day, and we drive to the first customer’s farm. We arrive at the first farm around 9 a.m.

The producer starts by discussing the issues he or she is facing – in this case, the producer has concerns with the silage in the bunker silo. We go into the bunker and evaluate the compaction and kernel processing of corn silage as well as bunker management.

I use a Flir infrared camera with my iPhone to see the problem areas in the bunker. Producers are always fascinated to see the performance of such a small camera and see how it can be used to improve silage quality.

We typically spend about an hour to an hour-and-a-half at a producer’s farm. This visit was a little longer because we went into the bunker and had a lot of discussion about the producer’s concerns. We go out for lunch and drive to the next farm, about 45 minutes away.

The next farm’s visit is a courtesy visit. We walk the producer’s fields to scout for disease and go into the bunker to view compaction and corn kernel processing.

We notice the corn kernel processing is insufficient, so I recommend the producer adjust the rolls for the 2017 corn silage. We’ve had some specific concerns this year – mostly around timing of silage harvest due to the high moisture and low heat we’ve experienced this year. Some silage inventories are also low due to the delay of silage, which is also concerning for growers.

We’re finished in the afternoon and head back to the original meeting place and depart for home. If I have a busy week and don’t get a dedicated office day, I will do administrative tasks at home. I do not farm, which is maybe a good thing since my days can be busy working with producers.

The most rewarding part of my job is when I am able to find a solution to a problem for a producer that will positively impact his or her operation and bottom line.

Every decision made on the farm can have a positive or negative impact, so when we are able to improve any situation for a producer, it’s very rewarding. My job is never repetitive; every day is different. New challenges, new opportunities, joys and disappointments are part of my daily life.  end mark

Marie Landry-Blais is a dairy specialist with DuPont Pioneer - Canada. Email Marie Landry-Blais.