5 Things You Should Know About Prebiotics and Probiotics

Posted on August 21, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Jenn Rowntree, Vita Plus calf and heifer specialist
Both pre- and probiotics have shown the ability to resist invasion of harmful pathogens by preventing them from binding to cells in the GIT or binding directly to (and subsequently destroying) these invading pathogens. They can help improve the gastrointestinal tract environment for ingestion and digestion, thus increasing feed efficiency, and improve the overall immune system by regulating gut barrier function.  Most companies involved in animal health, reproduction, and nutrition have added a variety of prebiotic and/or probiotic products to their portfolios in recent years. Let’s explore some common questions about these feed additives.

Minimize milk fat depression in the heat of summer

Posted on August 1, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Barry Visser
Enhancing milk fat is beneficial to animal performance and farm profitability. Today, butterfat accounts for more than half of your milk check. Production goals are often based on combined milk fat and protein yields. Although the dog days of summer may not be an ideal time to improve milk fat, several factors may help you minimize your decline.

5 summer calf ventilation checkpoints

Posted on May 30, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Ann Hoskins
If you haven't already, now is the time for routine maintenance on your calf facility ventilation system.  Good air quality goes a long way in promoting calf health.  Plus, an efficiently working ventilation system saves dollars on your bottom line.

Maintain heifer health through temperature swings

Posted on April 18, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Noah Litherland
While we enjoy spring's warmer weather, this is usually a stressful season for calves and heifers.  Increased ambient temperature during the day, increased humidity, and cooler nights have clear impacts on heifer intakes and health.  Coccidiosis and respiratory challenges are common due to fluctuating temperatures and environmental stress.

3 ways to cope with high-mycotoxin feeds

Posted on April 1, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Eric Schwab
Mycotoxins are present in a wide range of livestock feeds. While the focus has been primarily on cereal grains, haylage and hay can also contain mycotoxins.  Grain byproducts, such as distiller’s grains and corn gluten feed, can have mycotoxin concentrations two to three times greater than the parent material as little mycotoxin destruction occurs during processing and concentration occurs in the byproduct stream.  Testing for mycotoxins should be considered when symptoms of toxicity exist among a large population of animals on your farm and cannot be readily explained.

Prevent the pain of frostbite for calves

Posted on February 6, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Jenn Rowntree
We're likely to see more bitter cold temperatures yet this winter.  Unless frostbite is caught and treated early, the results are often permanent and detrimental.  With limited treatment options, prevention of frostbite is the best strategy.

5 questions to ask your vet

Posted on January 29, 2019 in Dairy Performance

When was the last time you and your herd veterinarian spent time together with calves?  Even if the calves are healthy, your veterinarian should still be involved in the development of calf management practices.  Here are five questions to ask your herd veterinarian to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of your calf-rearing program.

Biosecurity and bovine tuberculosis

Posted on December 3, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Jenn Rowntree
Recently, a herd of cows in Dane County, Wisconsin recently tested positive for bovine tuberculosis (TB) and has been quarantined.  The herd will continue to be under quarantine while the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (WI DATCP) traces all cattle that have entered and exited the herd in the last five years.  This event provides a great opportunity to reiterate how important it is to practice proper biosecurity protocols.

Internal parasite control

Posted on October 26, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Barry Visser
Dairy cattle behavior and appearance often make it easy to detect external parasites like flies, mange and lice. Severe internal parasite infiltrations can result in roughness of hair coat, anemia, edema and diarrhea. However, the subclinical impact of internal parasites is largely hidden, yet costly. According to a recent study at Iowa State University, undetected subclinical disease caused by internal parasites can cost $190 per animal.

Wise investments in heifer raising

Posted on August 8, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Cody Yanzick and Ann Hoskins
Calves are naturally herd animals, but, on many farms, the transition period is the first time they are grouped with others, bringing about a set of challenges that need specialized attention.  Limiting stress on calves can offer some of the greatest paybacks in terms of health and performance.

Vita Plus Calf Summit 2018 Recap

Posted on July 9, 2018 in Dairy Performance

More than 175 calf raisers, Vita Plus consultants and industry peers came together June 20 and 21 for Vita Plus Calf Summit 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  Follow the links in this post to access full event coverage, including speakers' PowerPoint presentations, articles and more.

7 signs calves are headed down a bad health path

Posted on April 25, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Ann Hoskins
Many calves show subtle signs of sickness before it becomes clinical. The “look, listen, smell and feel” strategy will help you identify those calves much earlier and can be used in all calf-raising systems. The key is to closely observe calves in the moment without making assumptions or overlooking small signs.

Make the best mineral decisions for cow health and your wallet

Posted on March 12, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Mat Faulkner
In the past, we balanced micronutrients using the “holiday pie theory” – if some is good, more is better. 

But that isn’t the case anymore.  In fact, overfeeding micronutrients can not only be costly to the producer, but it can also be deadly to the animal.

The Right Focus: Vita Plus Dairy Summit 2017 Recap

Posted on January 8, 2018 in Dairy Performance

More than 330 dairy producers, Vita Plus consultants and industry peers came together December 6 and 7 for Vita Plus Dairy Summit 2017 in Madison, Wisconsin.  Follow the links in this post to access full event coverage, including speakers' PowerPoint presentations, articles, videos and more.

Choose your ketosis monitoring tool

Posted on August 31, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Zach Sawall
In early lactation, cows enter negative energy balance.  This comes from increased energy demands for milk production, which can’t be met from dry matter (DM) intake.  If cows can’t adjust to this negative energy balance, excess body reserves are mobilized, leading to higher counts of nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) and ketones, specifically beta-hydroxy butyrate (BHBA).

3 things a fresh cow wants

Posted on July 28, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Stacy Nichols
A fresh cow pen should provide cows with a clean, comfortable environment to recover from calving and minimize the social stress they experience when being moved into new groups.  The primary goal of a fresh group must be to minimize health events to allow cows to reach their production potential.