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.

9 best practices when renewing or adopting feed management technology

Posted on March 22, 2022 in Dairy Performance
By Jon Rasmussen, Vita Plus dairy technology specialist Renewing or adopting feed management technology on your farm does not have to have to be a stressful process.  These nine steps can help simplify the process, clarify your goals and determine what system best meets your needs.

Winter calf barn ventilation

Posted on February 14, 2022 in Dairy Performance
By Barry Visser Temperature fluctuations this winter have presented challenges for calf raisers across the Midwest and many farms have seen an uptick in respiratory issues. Many calf barns rely on natural ventilation to provide clean, fresh air to the calves. This works well in the summertime; however, as doors, windows and curtains are closed in the winter, providing sufficient air exchanges to keep calves healthy can be challenging.

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.

Survey provides dairy farm employee compensation benchmarks

Posted on November 24, 2021 in Dairy Performance
By Steve Maier “What do other farms pay their employees?”  “What benefits do they offer?”  “How do you compete for good employees?” Our team at Agri-Business Consultants, LLC is often asked these questions.  To help farms benchmark their employee compensation and benefits, we conducted a survey of 50 Midwest dairy farms this summer and summarized

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.

Set autofeeders to match your calf-feeding goals

Posted on October 13, 2021 in Dairy Performance
All the settings of an autofeeder work together and one change can affect the others.  Program the machine so that milk volume, minimum and maximum limitations, and concentration match your calf-feeding strategy.

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.

6 steps to get the most from your corn silage

Posted on August 9, 2021 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian
High purchased feed costs mean farms must get as much nutritional value as possible from their homegrown forages. These six steps can help you put up high-quality feed while limiting your potential for shrink and spoilage.

Foliar feeding: Data-driven decisions affect ROI

Posted on July 15, 2021 in Dairy Performance

By Steve Murty
Foliar feeding – applying nutrients to the leaves of plants – can provide the next level of forage production with enhanced yield and quality benefits.  However, before you invest in a foliar feeding system, consider the following factors that may impact success.  Data-driven decisions will deliver a higher return on investment (ROI).

You get what you pay for when it comes to forage inoculants

Posted on June 30, 2021 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian
Not all bacterial strains with the same name behave the same, and not all inoculants will provide the same level of quality and effectiveness.  Price will always be a consideration when purchasing a forage inoculant, but, before you purchase inoculant based on price alone, take a moment to understand the amount of research and money that goes into creating and marketing a viable forage inoculant.

How to introduce forages to youngstock

Posted on June 14, 2021 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Lucas Mitchell
I am often asked, “How should forages be introduced to youngstock?”   My answer:  "It depends."

When we are raising calves, I think it is important to recognize this as a two-step process.  Step 1: Turn them into ruminants.  Step 2: Let them be ruminants.  Forages may play a role in step 1 and they certainly play a role in step 2.

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.

Better digestibility with reduced particle size?

Posted on May 18, 2021 in Dairy Performance

By Wyatt Smith
In the last few years, we’ve taken a more critical look at the relationship between forage fiber particle size and forage digestibility.  Researchers at the Miner Institute in New York have explored the concept of reducing particle size of forages with lower fiber digestibility to improve animal performance. 

Doubling down on homegrown proteins

Posted on May 11, 2021 in Dairy Performance

By Steve Murty
Feed prices have increased substantially in recent months.  Further complicating the cost situation, the winter storm that blew through Texas froze water pipes and natural gas lines, which created a short-term deficiency of feed-grade urea.  These two unpredictable incidents emphasize how important it is to double down on forage management practices to preserve homegrown protein yields and save out-of-pocket expenses. 

Grass can fit well in your forage inventories and nutrient management plan

Posted on April 28, 2021 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Zach Sawall and Pat Hoffman
“What else can we fit into our crop rotation to get more tonnage from the acres we have to work?” Italian ryegrass can be an effective forage option whether you’re looking to rescue a winterkilled alfalfa field or wanting to put up a grass forage.