What’s the goal? More milk or reduced purchased feed costs?

Posted on September 29, 2021 in Dairy Performance
You’ve likely been told “variety A will produce more milk than variety B” when choosing your forage crop varieties. However, it usually doesn’t work exactly that way in the real world.

Foliar feeding: Data-driven decisions affect ROI

Posted on July 15, 2021 in Dairy Performance

By Steve Murty
Foliar feeding – applying nutrients to the leaves of plants – can provide the next level of forage production with enhanced yield and quality benefits.  However, before you invest in a foliar feeding system, consider the following factors that may impact success.  Data-driven decisions will deliver a higher return on investment (ROI).

Better digestibility with reduced particle size?

Posted on May 18, 2021 in Dairy Performance

By Wyatt Smith
In the last few years, we’ve taken a more critical look at the relationship between forage fiber particle size and forage digestibility.  Researchers at the Miner Institute in New York have explored the concept of reducing particle size of forages with lower fiber digestibility to improve animal performance. 

Forage and business tips from Vita Plus Custom Harvester Meeting 2020

Posted on May 27, 2020 in Dairy Performance

The 2020 forage season is underway!  Are you geared up for success?  Speakers at the Vita Plus Custom Harvester Meeting held in February shared a wide range of expertise in forage production as well as business management.  Browse all of the event e-news topics in this post and visit Vita Plus Forage Foundations for more forage-focused technical expertise and practical tips.

Small grain forages: How do they fit in the ration?

Posted on November 8, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Pat Hoffman
Our traditional forage plans are frequently disrupted by alfalfa winterkill, uncooperative weather or the need for flexibility in manure applications.  Thus, we are seeing more small grain forages planted and used in our dairy rations.  A few subtle nuances to feeding small grain forages should be kept in mind during ration formulation.

10 ways to get more milk from homegrown forages

Posted on October 15, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian
All dairy producers share this goal:  Get more milk out of a homegrown forage and spend less on purchased feeds.  When it comes to forages, many factors – such as weather, soil depth and rainfall -  are out of our hands.  Here are 10 things we can do to improve forage quality and, hopefully, the milk production that comes from these feeds.

Estimate corn’s tasseling date

Posted on July 18, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Steve Murty, Vita Plus forage specialist
When should I make the call for fungicide application on my corn crop?  In this video, we learn an easy way to estimate when corn will tassel, which is also the best time to apply fungicide.  

4 ways to evaluate your corn plant stand

Posted on June 20, 2019 in Dairy Performance

Forage quality is one of the biggest ways to impact your farm’s nutrition program success and manage out-of-pocket expenses.  Many factors influence forage quantity and quality, starting with the seed and its first few days in the ground.  In this video, Dr. Michelle Der Bedrosian and Steve Murty with the Vita Plus forage team walk you through four steps to evaluate your corn plant stand.

8 ways to control alfalfa quality

Posted on May 2, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Nathan Hrnicek
Typically, to achieve higher-quality alfalfa, the crop is harvested earlier (between 23 and 28 days). Harvesting in the early- to mid-bud stage is still the best and most practical way to maximize quality.  

Another way to maximize quality is to maximize leaf retention.  The leaves are where you get an increase in quality because they are more digestible compared to the stems.  More overall leaves means lower undigestible material, which means higher-quality alfalfa.  To help maintain or increase leaf retention and improve quality, here are some other practices you can enact during the harvest process.

Can you feed reduced-lignin alfalfa with BMR corn?

Posted on March 8, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Barry Visser
High-quality forages are essential to maximize performance in lactating dairy cows, especially if your goal is to feed high-forage diets.  With the introduction of reduced-lignin alfalfa, some producers ask if pairing this product with brown midrib (BMR) corn will result in too much digestible fiber. 

While controlled research on feeding both reduced-lignin alfalfa and BMR corn silage is limited, producers are having success with this strategy.  The decision and extent to move toward lower-lignin forages are farm-specific.

Goofy winter could mean winterkill

Posted on February 8, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Jon Urness
I don’t think any of us are big fans of this year’s up-and-down winter weather conditions.  Unfortunately, our alfalfa fields might not be big fans of it either.  Wet fields in the fall, followed by big temperature fluctuations, ice and a diminished snow cover could lead to alfalfa winterkill.  

The right time to put the seed in the ground

Posted on April 12, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Jon Urness
What does it cost in corn silage yield or – more importantly – milk yield per acre when planting for corn silage is delayed? 

In a word - a lot!

12-point check for small grain forages

Posted on April 7, 2015 in Dairy Performance
By Pat Hoffman Producers used to only plant small grains in the spring for forage when they faced alfalfa winterkill or needed a companion crop for alfalfa seedings. Times have changed and small grain forages are now commonly and diversely used to augment a wide array of forage needs.  In addition, small grain forages are

Harvesting fall-seeded rye as silage

Posted on March 13, 2013 in Dairy Performance
By Jon Urness Spring harvesting of fall-seeded small grain grasses such as rye, triticale, and wheat as haylage has been popular in some areas of the country. Interest in this practice has spread in the Midwest as a source of forage for replacements and the opportunity to maximum forage yield by double-cropping in combination with

Choose your corn silage hybrid like you choose your steak

Posted on November 7, 2011 in Dairy Performance
By John Goeser Corn silage quality has a profound impact on your dairy’s profitability.  Highly digestible hybrids reduce your need for corn grain, and everyone understands the value of that in today’s markets.  So how do you choose the right hybrid?  The same way you choose your favorite steak. When you sink your teeth into