The ever-changing global economy

Posted on December 30, 2011 in Dairy Performance
By Al Gunderson Browse the Internet on your tablet or smartphone and you know we’re living in a global world where information flows across borders seamlessly.  That applies to economics too. The Greek debt crisis plunged the whole Euro zone into crisis and affected our U.S. markets.  A huge, global trading company placed a “bet”

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

Optimize heifer performance with TMR management

Posted on December 2, 2011 in Dairy Performance
By Cody Yanzick Calf raisers invest a lot of time and energy into optimizing calf performance.  Good feed management with young heifers can help to keep that momentum going as calves get older.  Here are a few tips for introducing, feeding and monitoring heifer TMRs. Choose the right size mixer. Most calf raisers mix small

Cow observations that make you money

Posted on November 17, 2011 in Dairy Performance
By Jon Rasmussen and Dr. Neil Michael Critically reviewing a few fundamental cow behaviors can positively impact cow health, performance and the overall attitude of employees.  Here are some good areas to watch during your next walk among your cows. Flight zones When you walk into a pen of cows, how do they react to

Choose your corn silage hybrid like you choose your steak

Posted on November 7, 2011 in Dairy Performance
By John Goeser Corn silage quality has a profound impact on your dairy’s profitability.  Highly digestible hybrids reduce your need for corn grain, and everyone understands the value of that in today’s markets.  So how do you choose the right hybrid?  The same way you choose your favorite steak. When you sink your teeth into

Positioning your dairy financially for 2012

Posted on October 21, 2011 in Dairy Performance
By Gary Sipiorski The weather’s getting chilly, which means winter and the New Year are coming up fast.  It also means it’s time to once again time to take a hard look at your dairy business and position yourself financially for 2012.  Here are my top 10 things to look at as you plan: 1.

Picking the repro measures that can give you an edge

Posted on September 30, 2011 in Dairy Performance
By Dr. Neil Michael In the simplest form, the goal of all reproductive programs is to maximize the production for quality pregnancies during a specified time period with minimal variation and waste.  Producers whose herds show high reproductive performance use a handful of metrics to evaluate and manage their programs.  Some fundamental metrics include: Pregnancy

Getting ‘the rest of the story’ on fecal starch

Posted on September 29, 2011 in Dairy Performance
By Jon Urness Legendary commentator Paul Harvey always ended his daily lunchtime radio broadcasts with the affirmation, “Now you know the rest of the story.” I’m not so sure we’ll ever know the full “rest of the story” when it comes to all the factors affecting total tract starch digestibility.  A survey conducted by Vita

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

Do autofeeders fit?

Posted on September 29, 2011 in Dairy Performance
By Ann Hoskins Automatic calf feeders are popping up on many dairy operations across the Midwest.  The new technology offers plenty of opportunities, but it also requires a refocus on management.  The decision of whether autofeeders fit your calf program needs to be made only after careful consideration of how the opportunities and challenges will

Using coproducts: Not a ‘one size fits all’ situation

Posted on September 29, 2011 in Dairy Performance
By Spence Driver The theme of high feed costs is not breaking news – we’ve been dealing with it for quite some time.  That certainly pushes us to take advantage of lower-priced coproducts whenever possible. In the Midwest, we’re fortunate in that we do have easy access to coproducts.  The Midwest is the center of

Is snaplage a fit for your dairy?

Posted on September 29, 2011 in Dairy Performance

By Chris Wacek-Driver 
Have you been talking about putting up snaplage this year?  This forage has gained renewed interest with increased use of high capacity field harvesters equipped with kernel processors.  The decision to harvest snaplage (which consists of the corn grain, cob, husk and some upper plant parts) will depend on the dietary fit and production goals of your dairy.