The real reel of diversification

Posted on July 19, 2022 in Dairy Performance
McComish Farms' succession plan, industry price swings, the future of the industry and consumer trends, and building for their growing family's future all influenced Amber and Joe McComish's diversification goals.

Advocating within your wheelhouse

Posted on July 19, 2022 in Dairy Performance
Heather Jauquet is passionate about sharing her dairy story with the local community and beyond. During her presentation at the Vita Plus Midwest Dairy Conference, Jauquet shared examples of leveraging her networks and finding effective ways to share her farm’s story.

Automated milking systems: Why it was right for us and might be right for you

Posted on July 19, 2022 in Dairy Performance
Luke Laufenberg has joined his father and uncle full-time on the family farm and “technology implementer” is one of his many roles. Laufenberg shared the benefits of AMS his family has seen during his presentation at the Vita Plus Midwest Dairy Conference.

Maintaining focus when everything’s a blur

Posted on July 14, 2022 in Dairy Performance
Randall Greenfield, Vita Plus vice president sales and business development, recently came across an article in which a farm owner said he was focused on “avoiding any catastrophic mistakes.” During his presentation at the Vita Plus Midwest Dairy Conference, Greenfield shared five things to watch to avoid catastrophes in a dairy farm business.

Prioritize your heat abatement options

Posted on June 7, 2022 in Dairy Performance
By Dr. David Carlson Heat stress presents many challenges for dairy farms, including diminished milk production, reduced reproductive performance and stressed cow wellbeing. Long-term impacts can be felt for years in terms of the health and productivity of offspring. Prioritize your heat abatement options by identifying maintenance needs of existing systems as well as high-value

Keep flies from moving in

Posted on April 28, 2022 in Dairy Performance
By Barry Visser Now is the time to make fly control plans for your operation. Flies are a nuisance to farm workers and animals, transmit disease and cause significant economic loss. Flies cause livestock to expend extra energy fending them off instead of resting, feeding and milking. Fly control is critically important to all dairy operations to reduce the spread of disease and improve animal comfort, resulting in decreased stress and greater efficiency of growth or production. 

7 considerations when formulating the heifer’s first TMR

Posted on April 13, 2022 in Dairy Performance
By Dr. Lucas Mitchell On many farms, a TMR presents an effective and efficient way to provide heifers with a complete and balanced ration.  However, if formulated improperly, TMRs can be detrimental to heifer growth and development.  Put the following seven concepts to work to ensure effective formulation of the heifer’s first TMR.

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.