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.

Do you know your forage and feed?

Posted on August 23, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Brittany Gevelinger & Richard Mensendike
Quality forages...where sound nutrition starts. 

Analyzing forage and feed samples will give you an accurate picture of their quality, and help you make management decisions to optimize your herd's nutrition.  The more representative your sample, the more accurate your analysis. 

Forage storage: Begin with the end in mind

Posted on July 19, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Bryan Knoper
Do you know the value of your stored forages? 

At the farm level, it is worth more than the cost to build another freestall barn.  At the cow level, it is realized in the fluctuation of her milk production when you switch forages.

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.

What do we do with low-moisture corn silage?

Posted on February 20, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Darin Bremmer
We knew fields were wetter than normal heading into fall harvest, but we didn’t expect the season’s heavy rains.

Corn also matured quicker this year, resulting in drier-than-normal corn silage.  It dried even more as farmers waited out the rain to get back in the field.  To properly harvest and feed this dry corn silage, it came down to adjusting the basics, including kernel processing, chopping height, packing, and good fermentation.

Sweat the small stuff with your dairy cow ration

Posted on September 23, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Silvia Onetti
Everybody has heard the phrase, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”  We say it to focus more on the big picture and less on the fine details. 

Don’t let summer heat spoil your feeds

Posted on July 13, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Michelle Windle
The sun is shining, the smell of grilled brats is in the air, ice cream is on my mind and the kids are laughing as they run through the sprinkler. 

There’s no denying it.  It’s summertime and with warmer temperatures come TMR heating and spoiling.

The 10 commandments for feeding cows during low milk prices

Posted on June 24, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Eric Schwab
When times of plenty pass and margins shrink, pencils are sharpened and costs are scrutinized. Savings need to be found and efficiencies gained. Here are opportunities to fine-tune your operation.

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!

Bank on corn silage in your rations

Posted on August 27, 2015 in Dairy Performance
By Dr. Darin Bremmer What was once considered a high corn silage diet is not high compared to today’s standards.  We commonly feed diets containing at least 80 percent of the forage dry matter (DM) from corn silage. One of the biggest reasons for this change is consistency.  It is much easier to put up

Understanding starch digestibility inside and out

Posted on August 11, 2015 in Dairy Performance
By Pat Hoffman We feed lactating cows starch sources that may be ground, flaked, processed, rolled or ensiled.  In addition, we store feeds containing starch in bags, bunkers and bins at different moisture contents for different lengths of time. With all these possible combinations, figuring out starch digestibility in the feeds we put in front

Fall milk slump and low digestible forages?

Posted on November 20, 2014 in Dairy Performance
By Rod Martin In the past couple months, we have heard a lot of discussion on lower milk production and higher components. We typically see this phenomenon every year during the fall season, but it seems to be more pronounced this year. Consultants and producers have been evaluating and implementing ration strategies with the goal

Bank on corn silage in your rations

Posted on November 10, 2014 in Dairy Performance
By Dr. Darin Bremmer Looking back a number of years, it was rare to feed a milk cow diet with more than 50 percent of the forage dry matter (DM) coming from corn silage.  Today, it’s common to feed diets with at least 80 percent of the forage DM coming from this crop. That pushes

Starch digestibility: Give it time

Posted on October 1, 2013 in Dairy Performance
By Dr. Eric Schwab Here’s a question for you:  When you’re feeding high-producing dairy cattle, do you want to feed the rumen bugs or the wildlife? If you’re an avid hunter in search of big bucks or long-bearded turkeys, the latter might not sound so bad.  But when corn prices hover around $6 per bushel,

Canola meal a good protein source in dairy cow diets

Posted on April 24, 2013 in Dairy Performance
By Dr. Eric Schwab In our never-ending quest to improve economic returns and efficiencies, we’re always looking at how we can include cost-effective feed ingredients in the diet without sacrificing production.  A recent meta-analysis published in the Journal of Dairy Science shows that canola meal can fill that niche. The analysis looked at 88 diets