Evaluate repro program with these 4 questions

Posted on June 12, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Andy Kniesly
Reproductive performance on dairies is one of many key areas that can have a huge impact on profitability. It is no surprise dairy farmers continue to look for ways to improve reproduction programs.

The rumen’s busy bugs

Posted on May 9, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Mat Faulkner
One of the amazing things about ruminant animals is their ability to turn feedstuffs with little or no nutritional value into nutritional products.  Ruminants accomplish this through a mixture of rumen microorganisms that convert feedstuffs into energy and protein sources to be used by the host animal.

Essentially, when you feed the cow, you are really feeding the rumen microorganisms.  What you feed them will affect the balance of these organisms and, subsequently, the function of the rumen.

Warm days and cool nights impact heifer respiratory health

Posted on January 16, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Noah Litherland
Maintaining nutrient intake balance and respiratory health can be a challenge during the first quarter of the calendar year.  Increased ambient temperature during the day, increased humidity, and cooler nights have clear impacts on heifer intake and health.

Understand milk fat depression and prevent it in your cows

Posted on December 22, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Stacy Nichols
A shift in the metabolism of dietary oils in the rumen is now recognized as the major cause of milk fat depression.  The cause of this shift is related to two main factors: the amount of vegetable oil in the diet and rumen pH.

Dairy heifers need some fresh air

Posted on November 18, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist
Fresh air is something we sometimes take for granted out in the country.  We give considerable thought and effort to making sure our milk replacer program is right or our pasteurizer is working correctly, but perhaps we should think more about the quality of air in our calf and heifer facilities. 

Copper concentration in dairy rations: Should we be concerned?

Posted on August 22, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Zach Sawall
A persistent concern on many dairy farms is the rising copper concentration levels in cattle liver samples. According to Dr. Jeremy Schefers, University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, the concern stems from the common usage of copper sulfate in footbaths to control digital dermatitis and the subsequent higher copper concentrations in manure and on cropland.

Milk the money-makers

Posted on April 25, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Stacy Nichols
With the current low margins, more emphasis needs to be placed on the factors that impact dairy farm profitability.   Dairies should milk as many profitable cows as possible to maximize the milking parlor – without exceeding the capacity to take care of cows. 

Vomitoxin: How much is too much in dairy diets?

Posted on August 29, 2014 in Dairy Performance
By Rod Martin This year’s weather conditions have been conducive to the development of vomitoxin in wheat.   The price for this wheat grain can be significantly discounted depending on the contamination level.  Consequently, dairy producers are asking how they can feed wheat grain in their dairy diets without incurring negative production and health effects. Furthermore,

Stop the drain of fresh cow disorders

Posted on October 17, 2013 in Dairy Performance
By Dr. Laurie Winkelman Like a slow leak from a car tire that eventually turns into a flat, subclinical ketosis and milk fever can slowly drain profits from your dairy. Cows with subclinical ketosis or milk fever will appear completely normal, floating under the radar of common detection tools and treatments.  Making real changes to

Get rid of the summer bugs

Posted on September 16, 2013 in Dairy Performance
By Ann Hoskins When it comes to our crops, this summer has been a crazy growing season with lots of ups and downs.  In contrast, it’s been a steady and great growing season for the bugs on our dairy farms and calf operations.  Many farms struggled with flies and pathogenic pests this year. As we

Colostrum for one and all

Posted on February 15, 2013 in Dairy Performance
By Dr. Laurie Winkelman Calves are born into this world without immunity or the ability to fight off pathogens and infections.  Unlike humans, the cow’s placenta does not allow antibodies to transfer from cow to calf.  High quality colostrum is the only way to prepare these newborns for the rest of their lives. The benefits

Limit infections in challenging environments

Posted on November 28, 2012 in Dairy Performance
By Dr. Owen Mickley This season’s temperature swings aren’t easy for calves.  We've been hearing about an increase in navel infections, ear tag infections and joint swelling. Remember, any increase in infection or treatment rate is cause for concern.  These problems may seem minor, but could indicate an opportunity to enhance the current system.  If

Aflatoxin: No room for error in dairy

Posted on September 20, 2012 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Al Schultz and Rod Martin

Almost every year at harvest, we have a few conversations about common molds and mycotoxins.  However, this year’s weather events have pushed us to look closer at a mycotoxin that isn’t as common in the upper Midwest:  aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is produced by the Aspergillus mold.  It thrives in periods of excessive heat and drought conditions, which is why it’s of particular concern to producers this harvest season.  Spores travel by the wind and infect silks or kernels, usually through insect wounds.

Are you catching and treating dehydration soon enough?

Posted on August 28, 2012 in Dairy Performance
By Ann Hoskins Recognizing and treating dehydration is key to raising healthy calves.  Calves will become dehydrated for many reasons, including summer heat and scours.  If you can catch dehydration early, supplemental fluids can get the calf on the road to a quicker recovery. A calf’s body contains 75 to 80 percent water at birth

Antibiotics in agriculture: What is their place?

Posted on June 8, 2012 in Dairy Performance
By Dr. Al Schultz Since they became a huge part of human medicine in the 1940s, antibiotics have saved millions of lives, but we are getting increasingly worried because they don’t work as well as they used to.  Although the pharmaceutical companies are developing new strategies to address this issue,  the man-versus-bacteria war continues onward.

On-farm biosecurity: Reduce risk

Posted on April 16, 2012 in Dairy Performance
By Ann Hoskins Biosecurity refers to those measures taken to keep diseases out of populations, herds or groups of animals where they do not currently exist or to limit the spread of disease within the herd. The responsibility for farm-level biosecurity belongs to the herd owner and it starts at home with your protocols. A