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

The 3 R’s for coaching employees

Posted on March 11, 2015 in Dairy Performance
By Jon Wilcox Bobby Knight, a college basketball coach with more than 900 victories and nicknamed “The General,” was perhaps most famously remembered for his fierce, combative, expletive-laden, chair-throwing style.  Yet he’s loyally defended and fanatically revered by most of his former players. Contrast him with the quiet and calm Tony Dungy.  Dungy’s accomplishments include

Vita Plus Custom Harvester Meeting 2015: Sharpen skills, adjust the knowledge bar and gain the edge

Posted on February 26, 2015 in Dairy Performance
More than 130 custom harvesters, Vita Plus employee owners and industry peers came together February 17 and 18 for the Vita Plus Custom Harvester Meeting in Onalaska, Wisconsin.  Follow the links below for complete event coverage, including articles, videos, photos and speaker presentations. Introduction to NIR moisture testers Dr. Michelle Windle, Vita Plus | Near

Video: First Winter in a New Calf Barn

Posted on February 5, 2015 in Dairy Performance
By Ann Hoskins In most respects, it's been a mild winter.  However, the recent cold and snow blasts have brought back memories of last winter's polar vortexes and that little Pennsylvanian groundhog just said we have six weeks to go. Many calf barns went up last summer in response to the previous harsh winter.  That

Maintaining heifer performance in cold stress

Posted on January 8, 2015 in Dairy Performance
By Pat Hoffman We're all feeling the immense chill right now, especially as we're out working with animals.  We place particular focus on young calves as changes in feeding and management are required to help calves not only survive, but also grow to their potential despite the temperature outside. What we might now focus on

Vita Plus Dairy Summit 2014: The 20-Year Climb

Posted on December 23, 2014 in Dairy Performance
More than 400 dairy producers, Vita Plus consultants and industry peers came together December 10 and 11 for Vita Plus Dairy Summit 2014 in Red Wing, Minnesota.  Follow the links below for complete event coverage, including articles, videos, photos and speaker presentations. Business Management Weather for Agriculture:  What Will 2015 Bring? Dr. Elwynn Taylor, Iowa

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

HMSC: Don’t forget the H

Posted on October 15, 2014 in Dairy Performance
By Jon Urness Dairy producers have successfully harvested, stored and fed high moisture corn for many years. By now, most have the routine down pat. But when things go wrong, it’s often the lack of high moisture that causes problems.  Naturally, too much moisture can be a challenge as well, but the material won’t pack

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

Seek proof of a product’s value

Posted on September 18, 2014 in Dairy Performance
By Dr. Al Schultz Whether it is a feed additive, a management practice, an equipment purchase or a whole myriad of inputs for your dairy, you are faced with choices.  But which of the choices is the best investment?  How do you know? It is jokingly said that if you feed multiple products that all

Vomitoxin: How much is too much in dairy diets?

Posted on August 29, 2014 in Dairy Performance
By Rod Martin This year’s weather conditions have been conducive to the development of vomitoxin in wheat.   The price for this wheat grain can be significantly discounted depending on the contamination level.  Consequently, dairy producers are asking how they can feed wheat grain in their dairy diets without incurring negative production and health effects. Furthermore,

Video: Evaluating corn silage processing in the field

Posted on August 19, 2014 in Dairy Performance
By Jon Rasmussen Trying to get a handle on corn silage processing while the choppers are moving has gained a great deal of interest in the recent years. A few considerations can help make the evaluation a little less subjective. Start by gathering a fresh corn silage sample in a 32-ounce container (a large soda

Robotic feed pusher: Future driver of dry matter intake?

Posted on July 11, 2014 in Dairy Performance
By Kary Babb In today’s dairy industry, technology is evermore integral to the management and care of dairy herds worldwide.  Increasingly, producers are saying goodbye to manual labor, allowing them to focus their time on other projects. First, we saw a huge change to the industry when robotic milking systems became available.  Since then, an

Building better heifer breeding criteria

Posted on June 23, 2014 in Dairy Performance
By Pat Hoffman For years, dairy producers have been told they should target specific breeding weights and lower the average breeding age of their heifers. There’s just one small problem with this school of thought:  No single heifer calves at the "average" age. Dairy farmers calve distributions of heifers, not the average. In other words,

The ladies like it cool… Starting today (Part 2)

Posted on May 30, 2014 in Dairy Performance
By Rod Martin It’s the end of May and that means heat abatement strategies should be in place on your dairy.  A good method to review your cooling strategy is the 3-M approach:  mechanical considerations, metabolic considerations and management considerations. I discussed several mechanical considerations in my last post, including shade, airflow and water access.