6 ways to get the most from your corn silage

Posted on August 17, 2020 in

By Dr. Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian
Much of the Midwest will be chopping corn silage in the next couple of weeks.  These six steps can help you put up high-quality feed while limiting your potential for shrink and spoilage.

2020 harvest: Go time is close!

Posted on August 6, 2020 in Dairy Performance

The 2020 corn crop looks good in much of the Midwest.  Vita Plus staff across the area provide a quick recap of this growing season and estimated corn silage harvest start dates.

VIDEO: When should you use an L. buchneri inoculant?

Posted on July 22, 2020 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian
Warmer temperatures create the perfect environment for spoilage in your forages. In this video, I explain how a forage inoculant with L. buchneri 40788 can help prevent spoilage, as well as the circumstances in which it's best not to use it. 

Any heat stress abatement is better than nothing

Posted on June 30, 2020 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Andy Kniesly
After just a few hot days, it is not uncommon to see milk production losses of 5 to 15 pounds of milk per cow day. That might be just the tip of the iceberg as heat stress can lead to a long list of other animal health and performance consequences. A lot of factors go into designing heat abatement systems for dairies, which require a solid understanding of your facilities and environment.  Here are some very common areas that we can focus on to help us prioritize where to start.

Grow heifers BEFORE calving

Posted on June 9, 2020 in Dairy Performance

By Barry Visser
The goal of most heifer replacement programs is to raise high-quality, healthy heifers in an efficient and economical manner.  Bodyweight of a heifer at the time of first calving is a proxy for growth and size. If heifers have not reached the desired size at calving, they will continue to grow during lactation. This is much less efficient and happens at the expense of milk production.

Forage and business tips from Vita Plus Custom Harvester Meeting 2020

Posted on May 27, 2020 in Dairy Performance

The 2020 forage season is underway!  Are you geared up for success?  Speakers at the Vita Plus Custom Harvester Meeting held in February shared a wide range of expertise in forage production as well as business management.  Browse all of the event e-news topics in this post and visit Vita Plus Forage Foundations for more forage-focused technical expertise and practical tips.

Serving customers & rural communities

Posted on May 15, 2020 in Dairy Performance

Vita Plus recently launched the Serving Customers & Rural Communities Project.  Through this project, Vita Plus has committed $100,000 to support rural food security initiatives throughout the Upper Midwest.  The purposes of the project are to assist those in rural communities during the COVID-19 pandemic while also showing support for dairy, swine, and beef producers by purchasing their products.  Click the link below to see the growing list of projects happening in communities across the Midwest.  We sincerely thank all the dairy and livestock farmers who work hard to provide nutritious, safe food for our families.  It's an honor to work with you.

VIDEO: Spring Ventilation and Air Quality for Calves

Posted on April 7, 2020 in Dairy Performance

With Dr. Noah Litherland
In the most recent edition of Starting Strong Calf Chat, Dr. Noah Litherland reminds calf raisers of three goals of ventilation:  (1)  provide adequate amounts of clean air to the calf, (2) prevent drafts on the calf, and (3) manage the temperature and humidity in the barn.

Watch the video for tips to optimize the calf environment during spring's fluctuating temperatures and damp weather.

Beware of nitrates this spring

Posted on March 25, 2020 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian
We often associate nitrate concerns with drought-stressed plants, but very wet conditions can also stress plants and cause them to accumulate nitrates.  Furthermore, high nitrate levels aren’t just a concern during the harvest season.  We are hearing reports of silages with higher-than-normal nitrate levels this spring.  Last year’s tough harvest season resulted in some crops going into the silo frozen, which means they did not ferment.  As the weather warms, they begin to “thaw” and undergo a fermentation, which also means there is risk for silo gas formation.  Please, be careful! 

Step away for a better view

Posted on March 9, 2020 in Dairy Performance

By Bob Hagenow
When you wear many hats on your dairy, it may seem difficult – or even impossible – to spend any time away.  But taking a few days to attend an industry event can provide several benefits, including different perspectives, financial benchmarking, planning for the future, practical learning and an opportunity to refocus.

Put computer record systems to work for calf management

Posted on February 24, 2020 in Dairy Performance

By Jon Rasmussen
As computer herd management programs have improved, we have new opportunities to define what needs to be recorded and how this can help us not only treat calves, but also identify higher-level strategies for improvement. 

Survey results: Optimizing robot IOFC

Posted on February 6, 2020 in Dairy Performance

By Eliza Ruzic and Pat Hoffman
As robotic milking systems continue to gain interest and adoption, dairy producers are looking at the economics associated with the technology.  Producers often ask us, “What truly influences milk production on a robotic dairy?  Do pellet characteristics influence visits and milk production?  Does the energy density of the partially mixed ration (PMR) affect milk production?”

Waves of Change: Vita Plus Dairy Summit Recap

Posted on January 30, 2020 in Dairy Performance

During Vita Plus Dairy Summit in December, attendees explored many “waves of change” in the dairy industry.  If you did not attend the event – or did attend and are looking for a refresher – browse the topics in this post to access the full event e-news.

2020 financials: A need for cautious optimism

Posted on January 20, 2020 in Dairy Performance

By Steve Maier
As we receive improved milk prices for the year ahead, we should see some recovery to our profitability, which will, in turn, lead to recovery of the balance sheet. Reflecting on my 20 years of finance experience, I seldom see bad decisions made in the worst years; they always seem to happen in the best years.

Milk protein regains the crown

Posted on December 26, 2019 in Dairy Performance

While fat’s value has remained steady and worth capturing, starting in February 2019, protein values have taken off like Usain Bolt running the 100 meter. In fact, it has increased by 232% since February, or more than 20% per month - a pretty amazing performance.  The impact of this on recent milk checks has been a welcomed relief to dairy producers and the industry as a whole.

Farm profitability: Take a good look at these 6 numbers

Posted on December 9, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Marin Western
Today’s dairy producers have a wealth of data at their fingertips. Details for health, reproduction, feedings and inventories just scratch the surface of the numbers that can be generated from farm data. One of the biggest challenges is what to do with all this information.  A study by Compeer Financial and Zoetis identified six factors that account for 85% of the variation in farm profitability.