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.

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.

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.

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.

Vita Plus Midwest Dairy Summit Recap

Posted on July 21, 2022 in Company News
Dairy producers and industry peers gathered together June 15 and 16, 2022, in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, to network and gain practical insight from agricultural leaders. This e-news provides summary articles from the event sessions.

Dissecting the mammary gland: Understanding udder health and milk quality

Posted on July 20, 2022 in Dairy Performance
During their presentation and udder dissection lab at the Vita Plus Midwest Dairy Conference, Dr. Meghan Connelly, Vita Plus, Dr. Kolby McIntyre, Marsh View Veterinary Clinic, and Dr. Matt Schaefer, Waupun Veterinary Service, discussed udder health and its relationship to milk quality.

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.

What do you do when maternal colostrum runs short?

Posted on December 29, 2021 in Dairy Performance
By Ann Hoskins Maternal colostrum is a high-value asset on your farm. Unfortunately, that asset often runs short this time of year as many farms see a slump in colostrum production between November and February. Farms need to have a “plan B” in place as they don’t want to short calves on this vital nutrition.

The fall milk slump is still real

Posted on November 1, 2021 in Dairy Performance
Many areas have experienced their first frost of the season or will in the days ahead. For cows, these cooler temperatures are welcome following a summer with near-record heat across much of the Midwest. Despite the more ideal temperatures for cows, farmers find themselves disappointed with milk production this time of year.

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.

Fatty acid feeding strategies in a high-cost market

Posted on May 28, 2021 in Dairy Performance

By Marin Western
It’s no surprise to anyone that supplemental fat prices have followed all other feed prices and continue to jump.  We can target ratios of individual fatty acids for specific groups of cows, save some money where possible and limit potential loss caused by eliminating fat from all diets. The ultimate question then becomes:  Who gets the fat I am willing to buy?  Here's how I rank importance of supplementation.

Choose your best strategy for fat supplementation

Posted on October 16, 2020 in Dairy Performance

By Marin Western
No longer do we consider fat just fat.  Current research on fat supplementation to lactating dairy cows is focused on individual fatty acids. Recent studies at Michigan State University have especially highlighted the impacts of individual fatty acids and how we can better utilize the commercial products available to us in the industry.

Farm feature: Hilltop Dairy LLC has decades’ tradition of ‘good-looking, good-producing cows’

Posted on September 24, 2020 in Dairy Performance

The owners of Hilltop Dairy LLC in Markesan, Wisconsin, have had a passion for registered Holstein cattle and “good-looking, good-producing cows” for decades.  That tradition continues to be front-and-center on the 1,400-cow dairy today.

Grow heifers BEFORE calving

Posted on June 9, 2020 in Dairy Performance

By Barry Visser
The goal of most heifer replacement programs is to raise high-quality, healthy heifers in an efficient and economical manner.  Bodyweight of a heifer at the time of first calving is a proxy for growth and size. If heifers have not reached the desired size at calving, they will continue to grow during lactation. This is much less efficient and happens at the expense of milk production.

Waves of Change: Vita Plus Dairy Summit Recap

Posted on January 30, 2020 in Dairy Performance

During Vita Plus Dairy Summit in December, attendees explored many “waves of change” in the dairy industry.  If you did not attend the event – or did attend and are looking for a refresher – browse the topics in this post to access the full event e-news.

2020 financials: A need for cautious optimism

Posted on January 20, 2020 in Dairy Performance

By Steve Maier
As we receive improved milk prices for the year ahead, we should see some recovery to our profitability, which will, in turn, lead to recovery of the balance sheet. Reflecting on my 20 years of finance experience, I seldom see bad decisions made in the worst years; they always seem to happen in the best years.