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.

Moisture testing saves money each and every day

Posted on April 12, 2021 in Dairy Performance

By Nathan Hrnicek
Forage moisture is tested daily on some farms while other farms wait for a nutritionist visit.  Farms tend to focus on it more during harvest, but harvest testing strategies also vary farm-to-farm.  However, an accurate reading of moisture content is absolutely necessary at several points throughout the year on a dairy farm.

5 ways a calf says she’s getting the right amount of milk

Posted on March 15, 2021 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Lucas Mitchell
Similar to how we rely on the lactating herd’s performance to indicate if something is working or not, if we pay attention to how the calves are performing, they will show us if they are receiving too much, too little, or just the right amount of milk.

Use your data to increase efficiency and profitability

Posted on March 3, 2021 in Dairy Performance

By Mark Case
Every dairy farm has opportunities to improve efficiency and profitability.  One way to do this is to harness and make sense of your farm’s data.  By diving into the data behind each of these six factors, we can determine what management steps can have the biggest effects on efficiency and profitability.

Nutrition and reproductive success

Posted on February 9, 2021 in Dairy Performance

By Barry Visser
Reproductive success is a major component of economic success in dairy herds. The feeding program throughout all production stages is important for optimizing a herd’s reproductive efficiency.

Work safely in the winter

Posted on January 29, 2021 in Dairy Performance

By Chris Belz
Hard work and a dairy farm go hand in hand, but we need to stay healthy to care for our families and our animals.  Here are a few reminders for safe farm work in the winter.