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.

Oh hail no! Hail-damaged bags…what now?

Posted on June 5, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Vita Plus forage consultants
While we do our best to put up high-quality forage each year, sometimes Mother Nature has other plans. What is your strategy when disaster strikes your forage bags?

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.”

‘Avalanche!’ – A word we don’t want to hear you say

Posted on February 15, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Michelle Windle
Many farms have a limited amount of space on the feed pad to store their homegrown forages.  This leads some producers to store multiple crops in close proximity.  January and February mark the time of year when many producers move from one crop to another.  Although avalanches can occur in a wide array of situations, it is especially common to see an avalanche at the interface between two crops.  This creates a dangerous situation.

Milk production opportunities are waiting in the feedbunk

Posted on January 22, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Jon Rasmussen
Have you visited a nature park and climbed to the top of a tall observation tower?  Finding your way through the woods is completely different after gaining this overview compared to standing on the ground.

How we observe cow behavior at the feedbunk can also really make a difference in what we see.  If we expand our view, we can gain a lot by improving feedbunk behavior.

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.

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.

Don’t skimp on the details and you’ll find the lost dollars (Part 1)

Posted on August 16, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Laurie Winkelman
In tough economic times, nutritionists often get questions and requests to reduce feed costs on farms. From a nutrition standpoint, a cow needs what a cow needs and that won’t change if milk is $25 per cwt or $12 per cwt.

How much is feed shrink costing you?

Posted on July 25, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Andy Kniesly
Feed costs represent one of the largest expenses on a dairy farm. As dairy farmers look for ways to improve their profitability, they often look for ways to reduce their feed costs. One area that sometimes gets overlooked in the quest to reduce feed costs is feed shrink.

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.

Walls or no walls?

Posted on March 23, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Randall Greenfield
Walls or no walls?  This question inevitably comes up when considering storage options for ensiled forages and grains. The answer, of course, is always “it depends.” For any specific situation, the ultimate solution could be different than the next. For the purpose of this article, however, I’ll make some generic comparisons.

Optimal packing density: Harvest is the time to get it right!

Posted on September 24, 2014 in Dairy Performance
By Barry Visser Achieving a tight pack and attaining a high density are extremely important aspects of harvesting and storing silage.  Reaching goals of high density is important for two main reasons: Density and dry matter (DM) content determine the porosity of the silage, which affects the rate at which air can enter the silage

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,

Forage facing: Simple strategies for quality feeds

Posted on August 14, 2013 in Dairy Performance
By Jon Rasmussen With harvest just around the corner, you’re planning how you will put up the best quality forages possible.  That quality will translate to milk production throughout the upcoming year. When you invest a significant amount of time and money into your forages, you want to make sure you maintain quality in every

Alkaline treatment of corn stover: Can it work on my dairy?

Posted on October 10, 2012 in Dairy Performance
By John Brantsen and Jon Urness As we’re looking to make the most out of our crops this year, alkaline treatment of corn stover is gaining attention as a potential strategy to improve the feed value of this byproduct. Research shows that treating feedstuffs with calcium oxide increases cellulose digestibility, which improves the feed value