Minimize milk fat depression in the heat of summer

Posted on August 1, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Barry Visser
Enhancing milk fat is beneficial to animal performance and farm profitability. Today, butterfat accounts for more than half of your milk check. Production goals are often based on combined milk fat and protein yields. Although the dog days of summer may not be an ideal time to improve milk fat, several factors may help you minimize your decline.

Clear thinking with cloudy milk prices: 5 key ideas to see through the low-hanging price clouds

Posted on February 6, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Gary Sipiorski
Seasoned dairy producers have been through our cyclical milk price swings.  They recognize this low spot because they’ve been here before.  Those with less experience may feel more uncomfortable in the current situation, but that’s not to say any dairy producer is pleased with the prices.  Regardless, everyone must work through the low period. 

Here are five ideas to start the preparation process for however long it will take to get back to a higher milk price.  

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.

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.

Understand milk fat depression and prevent it in your cows

Posted on December 22, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Stacy Nichols
A shift in the metabolism of dietary oils in the rumen is now recognized as the major cause of milk fat depression.  The cause of this shift is related to two main factors: the amount of vegetable oil in the diet and rumen pH.

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.

Milk the money-makers

Posted on April 25, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Stacy Nichols
With the current low margins, more emphasis needs to be placed on the factors that impact dairy farm profitability.   Dairies should milk as many profitable cows as possible to maximize the milking parlor – without exceeding the capacity to take care of cows. 

Deciphering dairy data

Posted on December 4, 2015 in Dairy Performance
By Randy Greenfield You don’t have to know me well to know I like to work with data. Many producers aren’t quite as likely to get excited about data and spreadsheets, but I think everyone can appreciate the value in tracking dairy herd data to best manage health and performance. We not only have sophisticated

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

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

Why ship water when you get paid for solids?

Posted on February 27, 2012 in Dairy Performance
By Dr. Eric Schwab Consumers and processors in the Upper Midwest demand solids to produce high quality dairy products. But how do we produce high solids milk without giving up production? First, let’s take a step back to understand why milk solids play such a big role in the milk check.  World demand for dairy

Goodbye protein… Hello amino acids

Posted on December 15, 2011 in Dairy Performance
By Spence Driver Over the last five years, nearly 55 percent of the average milk income over feed costs has been derived from milk protein yield and 40 percent has come from milk fat yield.  That means that only about 5 percent of that income is derived from milk volume. Clearly, that means that increasing

Dairy risk management: Understanding the basics

Posted on September 29, 2011 in Dairy Performance
(Editor's note:  In his 2011 article below, Randy Greenfield shares the basics of various dairy risk management tools.  A new tool to add to the list is the Dairy Margin Protection Program, as explained in the following 2014 update.  Contact your Vita Plus consultant if you're interested in further discussing these tools and strategies.) 2014