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.

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.

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.

Smart feeding can lead to increased milk in robotic herds

Posted on July 19, 2023 in Dairy Performance
By Jenn Coyne, Progressive Dairy | Feeding a robotic milking herd may seem like a balancing act between what is fed at the bunk and in the box.  Industry observations indicate consistency between both is the true driver of increased energy-corrected milk and components.

The best times to push up feed

Posted on March 21, 2023 in Dairy Performance
By Jon Rasmussen | Research has shown reduced sorting, elevated lying times, positive milk responses, and enhanced milk component responses are all possible with more feed deliveries and feed pushups. One of the simpler technologies we can use in observing feedbunk behavior and feed pushups is a time-lapse camera, which allows us to observe cows at a distance.

Cold weather stresses cows too

Posted on January 31, 2023 in Dairy Performance
By Barry Visser | This winter has presented us with nearly every weather scenario possible: fluctuating barometric pressures, bitter cold temperatures and wind chills, and mild temperatures with rain, ice, and fog. These changing weather systems have an impact on dairy cows and milk production. There are a few management considerations to minimize the impact of cold stress on milk production.

Benchmarking survey helps farms evaluate IOFC

Posted on January 3, 2023 in Dairy Performance
By Stacy Nichols | Because feed represents more than 50% of the cost of milk production, dairy producers often ask how their feed costs compare to those of other farms.  As markets change, it’s important to regularly evaluate feed costs, ask whether you’re getting acceptable returns on your farm’s feed additives and dietary strategies, and explore whether you have opportunities to save on feed costs or invest in milk production for a greater return. With these questions in mind, Vita Plus dairy nutritionists recently conducted a benchmarking analysis survey of income over feed cost (IOFC) with 35 Holstein dairy herds in Michigan and Indiana.

9 critical control points for TMR consistency

Posted on December 7, 2022 in Dairy Performance
By Dr. David Carlson | The feeding process requires skill and attention to detail to deliver a high-quality, uniform ration to all cows within a pen. The following nine critical control points can help you achieve TMR consistency.

Don’t miss the chance to make good silage

Posted on August 30, 2022 in Dairy Performance
By Barry Visser | Most corn planting happened two to four weeks later than normal thanks to April rains and below-average temperatures. Despite the later spring, corn silage harvest is just around the corner, and for a few in outlying areas, it has already begun. A few strategies can help determine when to hit the fields and how to put up the highest quality forage possible.

Growing a forage program from the ground up

Posted on July 20, 2022 in Dairy Performance
Steve Murty, Vita Plus forage specialist, discussed four steps to grow a forage program during his Vita Plus Midwest Dairy Conference presentation.

7 considerations when formulating the heifer’s first TMR

Posted on April 13, 2022 in Dairy Performance
By Dr. Lucas Mitchell On many farms, a TMR presents an effective and efficient way to provide heifers with a complete and balanced ration.  However, if formulated improperly, TMRs can be detrimental to heifer growth and development.  Put the following seven concepts to work to ensure effective formulation of the heifer’s first TMR.

Making sense of milk fatty acid results

Posted on March 30, 2022 in Dairy Performance
By Stacy Nichols Has your processor offered your farm milk fatty acid analysis?  Milk fatty acids can be economically analyzed with mid-infrared technology, and many processors are beginning to offer this service to farms.  Here’s an overview of milk fatty acids to help you interpret the results.

9 best practices when renewing or adopting feed management technology

Posted on March 22, 2022 in Dairy Performance
By Jon Rasmussen, Vita Plus dairy technology specialist Renewing or adopting feed management technology on your farm does not have to have to be a stressful process.  These nine steps can help simplify the process, clarify your goals and determine what system best meets your needs.