Estimate corn’s tasseling date

Posted on July 18, 2019 in

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.

How do we feed low-moisture corn silage?

Posted on October 1, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Darin Bremmer, Vita Plus regional sales manager
Parts of our market area saw intense rainfall and flooding in recent weeks, causing a delay in harvest until the fields can dry out.  Other parts saw the exact opposite and have dealt with severe drought for the better part of the growing season.

Both crop situations can result in low moisture levels and these producers will have to work through the unique challenges of harvesting low-moisture corn silage.  When it comes to properly harvesting and feeding dry corn silage, it helps to adjust harvest basics - such as kernel processing, chopping height and packing - to achieve a good fermentation.

The good, bad and deadly of silo gases

Posted on September 17, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Michelle Der Bedrosian
As producers fill silos, bunkers or bags, I often get calls about gases coming off the silage.  During fermentation, many different gases are formed.  For the most past, this is very normal.  I expect gas formation to occur for roughly a week after a silo is sealed, although some silos can produce gas longer.  While some gases are harmless, others are deadly.  You can never be too cautious when it comes to silo gas.

Inoculants: Claims you can count on

Posted on August 22, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Jon Urness
Here in the land of wide open spaces and free markets, it’s fairly easy to put together a silage additive simply by choosing a few likely characters for bacteria, mixing them in a bottle, slapping on a label, and touting it as being well researched and proven – with little or no interference from regulators.

Inoculant storage and transporation to make the most of the investment

Posted on August 13, 2018 in Dairy Performance

An incredible number of forage management practices must go right to produce quality feed for livestock.  As corn silage harvest approaches, you need to make sure you have enough bacterial inoculant on-hand before you head out to the fields.  Now is the time to double-check your inventory.

Alfalfa can calm the protein landscape

Posted on July 30, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Nathan Hrnicek & Stacy Nichols
Dairy producers are looking for opportunities to maintain margins amid increasing protein and byproduct costs.  Growing and feeding more high-quality alfalfa could provide the solution.

Low-density silage piles equal lost dollars

Posted on May 18, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Nathan Hrnicek
Field work has begun and we’ll be cutting first-crop alfalfa in no time.  It’s amazing how much work can get done in such a short amount of time, but one process that should receive adequate time is silage packing. 

Applicator hibernation is over

Posted on May 4, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Jon Urness
It won't be long until we count on our forage inoculant applicators to apply inoculants reliably and accurately.  How we ease them into service could have a huge impact on how they perform throughout the harvest season.  Let’s concentrate on low-volume applicators powered by a peristaltic pump. 

Inoculant mythbusters: Clearing the smoke and mirrors

Posted on April 18, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Michelle Windle
Each year, inoculant companies and their representatives vie for your business.  Decisions should be made based on proven facts rather than marketing, smoke and mirrors.  Therefore, we’d like to share some myths we’ve heard as well as some scientific responses to help “clear the smoke.”

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. 

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.  

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