Interview with Cobden Nutritionist Nicolas Pineda

Six months ago we were wrapped to have Colombian Nicolas Pineda join our nutritional service team. He brings a wide knowledge of livestock farming and it’s a great honour to have him as part of the team. I sat down with him recently to find out more about his interesting background.

Nick Reid (NR): Tell us a little about your background?

Nicolas Pineda (NP): I’m from Colombia in South America. I was born in Bogotá, I studied in a German school. Then I went to do my Vet Bachelor and afterward I was working in some dairy farms and some beef cattle farms. One year and a half ago I came to Melbourne Uni to do my Masters in Agribusiness, I just finished in August and got here pretty much straight away.

NR: Are the hills in Colombia much bigger than Mt Leura in Camperdown?

NP: Haha. Think of that ten times up and ten times down.

NR: Why did you move to Australia?

NP: My wife and I moved to Australia because we were looking for a place that suited both of us in terms of what we wanted to study and work in. I was looking for a place that was closer to the dairy system we use to produce in Colombia – pasture based. And my wife Natalia was looking for a developed country that was successful not only in economical terms but social terms. So I think the one which suited us both equally well was Australia.

NR: How have you found Australia?

NP: Oh fantastic. What’s not to love here. I love Melbourne and so far where I have been visiting in Sydney, Tassie and regional Victoria, I love it. I love the landscape and the people. Melbourne is a really interesting city, you can find whatever you want, there’s a lot of culture going around.

NR: What piece of Australian slang confuses you most?

NP: The thing that hit me the most was that you put three words together into one. So I have to go in my head and say “what did he say?” Putting it in my head, splitting it and putting that together before saying “ahh this is what he said.” But then they might be three sentences after that, so I need to go and keep up! I think I’m getting it slowly. The first week here was quite rough because in Melbourne the slang is not quite as strong.

NR: How does your mind work during conversation? Are you thinking in Spanish or English?

NP: I try to keep it in English. I try not to translate. There’s some words that I just cannot understand, so I need to translate. Most of the time when I don’t get something I have to look up the internet and try to look for definitions not for Spanish translations. That helps me focus on English and translating to Spanish is also a longer process.

NR: Where are the most beautiful women in Colbombia?

NP: Everywhere. Everywhere! Haha.

NR: When did you first become interested in animal nutrition?

NP: I have been interested in animal nutrition since I got into Vet School. I just started realising how important it was while I was working in the field. There is some really important methods to dairy farming and some basics you need to get right. Nutrition is one of the most important. If you get that right you’re off to a great start.

NR: Tell me about your experience as a Vet?

NP: Well I studied five years and a little bit more for the thesis in Colombia to be a Vet. I started working as a farm manager and Vet since 2009, so I wasn’t finished my degree when I started managing the first farm. I tried to keep up the Vet work in a more preventative way, I don’t like fixing and fixing but if I can develop plans to keep things in order and to prevent animals getting ill it’s better for everyone.

NR: What do you find most satisfying about feeding animals better?

NP: Well it’s better when things just go right. When you have a satisfied customer, when you have a really good producing herd, when your animals don’t get ill. When they are able to express all their genetic potential, I think that’s really pleasing. I think though it’s also good to have some challenges. When the herd’s not going so well and you are able to put things back on course and satisfy the customer, these things are the most rewarding.

NR: When was the last time Colombia made the football World Cup?

NP: Oh, last year. Before that we had three World Cup’s in a row that we didn’t go. This last one was fantastic. We came back with a really good group of people. Ahh it just made us really happy. Colombia is crazy about football, so it was really good that they got to the final. We got beaten by Brazil but it was unfair! Haha. We scored and the referee said we were offside.

NR: Are you following anyone in the A-League?  

NP: Nah, not that much. Haha. I like to watch the Premier League, the La Liga from Spain, and Copa America.