6 steps to unravel your farm data

Posted on April 17, 2024 in Dairy Performance
By Katelyn Goldsmith, Vita Plus | Data is abundant on today’s dairy farms.  It can serve as a powerful tool and also be overwhelming at times.  Have you looked at a spreadsheet or report and felt a little lost?  What does this data mean?  What is it telling me?  What do I do with the information?  Following are six steps to unravel your farm’s data and put it to work.

Feeding high oleic soybeans to dairy cows

Posted on February 12, 2024 in Dairy Performance
By Barry Visser, Vita Plus | High oleic soybeans have been around for more than 10 years, mostly in the eastern United States.  More recently, they have worked their way into the Midwest market, catching the attention of the dairy industry.

Leverage the fermentation process for feed

Posted on January 16, 2024 in Dairy Performance
By Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian, Ph.D., and Owen Mickley | Efficient, upfront fermentation is important to the nutrient profile of a forage. When forage is ensiled, bacteria ferment water soluble sugars into lactic acid. This causes a reduction in the pH of the forage mass, which prevents the growth of undesirable microorganisms during storage. These lactic acid-producing bacteria naturally occur on the plant in the field and may be applied via an inoculant. A more efficient fermentation will retain the digestible nutrients for use in the rumen.

Right-sizing your feed pad

Posted on December 7, 2023 in Dairy Performance
By Jon Rasmussen, Vita Plus | While farms may “break the rules” of forage storage every now and then, the goal should always be to SAFELY store forages with nearly zero oxygen exposure.  If you find yourself frequently breaking the rules, it might be time to resize your feed pad.  Following are four rules to help you in the planning process.

Balancing nutrition and agronomy for improved heifer diets

Posted on November 16, 2023 in Dairy Performance
By Noah Litherland, Ph.D. | Heifers have specific nutrient requirements for maintenance, growth and eventually pregnancy. Forages serve as the foundation for the heifer diet and must be selected with heifer nutrient requirements in mind.

Assemble your farm’s best team of experts

Posted on October 31, 2023 in Dairy Performance
By Bob Hagenow, Vita Plus | Here is an unarguable fact: A high-functioning and effective farm team – with all team members in alignment and focused on achieving established farm goals – has a distinct competitive advantage over a farm that operates without a team.

Extend forage inventories without losing milk or increasing costs

Posted on October 2, 2023 in Dairy Performance
By Wyatt Smith, Vita Plus | With much of the Midwest facing limited rainfall and dry conditions, expected forage yield and forage inventories are an area of concern. Many producers have raised the question of how to best extend current forage inventories with the goal of minimal impact to milk output and feed costs.

Height considerations for corn silage cutting

Posted on September 8, 2023 in Dairy Performance
By Barry Visser, Vita Plus | Corn silage harvest is at the doorstep for many dairy farms across the Midwest.  The growing season has been nearly ideal for some while others have dealt with drought and, more recently, hail damage.  These growing differences, and other management considerations, make it difficult to have one common recommendation for corn silage cutting height.  There is a trade-off between reduced yields and higher quality as more stalk residue is left in the field.

Trial shows delayed sealing’s negative impact on forage quality

Posted on August 24, 2023 in Dairy Performance
By Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian, Ph.D., Vita Plus | The initial phase of making silage is the aerobic phase and it is characterized by the presence of oxygen. The aerobic phase begins when the plant is cut in the field and continues until the silo is sealed (either the plastic is laid on top of the silo or the bag silo is sealed) and oxygen is consumed by the upfront fermentation.

What producers should know in shaking off the dairy doldrums

Posted on July 20, 2023 in Dairy Performance
Sarina Sharp, Ag Business Solutions | High inflation and interest rates should have minimal impact on landowners, asset holders and businesses with debt interest rates locked in.

Create an effective conversation on farm transition

Posted on July 20, 2023 in Dairy Performance
By Jenn Coyne, Progressive Dairy | Change is difficult, whether it is a change in business or transitioning the business from one generation to the next.  Develop a plan and effectively communicate between parties to avoid a failed transition.

The first 24: Get calves off to a great start with colostrum

Posted on July 20, 2023 in Dairy Performance
By Bethany Dado-Senn, Ph.D., and Lucas Mitchell, Ph.D. | The birth of a calf signals the start of a 24-hour race to ensure the foundation of a strong immune system. 

Flourish in the trenches of transformation

Posted on July 20, 2023 in Dairy Performance
By Jenn Coyne, Progressive Dairy | Change is inevitable. Understanding the process of change and how to adapt may help individuals thrive in unfamiliar situations.

Create the five-star dining experience cows crave

Posted on July 20, 2023 in Dairy Performance
Jenn Coyne, Progressive Dairy | Cows need the complete package when it comes to a great dining experience that will maximize feed intake to maximize milk components.  Ration uniformity and feed availability are key factors in creating that perfect feeding environment.

These producers put sustainability to work

Posted on July 19, 2023 in Dairy Performance
By Jenn Coyne, Progressive Dairy | Three Midwest dairy producers share their paths toward a more sustainable business for the future of their farms and communities.

Five ways to influence policy from a farmer’s perspective

Posted on July 19, 2023 in Dairy Performance
By Jenn Coyne, Progressive Dairy | Sadie Frericks is a veteran at telling her family’s farm story and having that story influence legislative decisions.  Here are five ways Frericks says every farmer can impact policy on and off the farm.