Video: Harvest for high moisture corn

Posted on November 2, 2019 in Dairy Performance

The challenging weather conditions of 2019 will likely result in more high-moisture corn harvested and stored this year.  Stephanie Jens, Lallemand Animal Nutrition, joins Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian, Vita Plus, to offer a few tips for harvesting and storing this high-value feed, including choosing the right inoculant, keeping inoculant lines from freezing, and grinding the corn to optimize starch digestibility.

Video: Safety first and ALWAYS

Posted on October 22, 2019 in Dairy Performance

The most important thing you will do today is make it back safely to your family or friends tonight. Safety is a value at Vita Plus and we remind all our customers, staff, and industry partners to be safe during forage harvest and throughout the year.  In this video, Stephanie Jens, Lallemand Animal Nutrition, joins Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian, Vita Plus, to offer a few safety tips to follow when working around forage bunkers and piles.

10 ways to get more milk from homegrown forages

Posted on October 15, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian
All dairy producers share this goal:  Get more milk out of a homegrown forage and spend less on purchased feeds.  When it comes to forages, many factors – such as weather, soil depth and rainfall -  are out of our hands.  Here are 10 things we can do to improve forage quality and, hopefully, the milk production that comes from these feeds.

Unique nutrition for Jersey nursery calves

Posted on September 25, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Noah Litherland
One key goal of the nursery calf program is to provide an appropriate plane of nutrition (not too high or too low) at the beginning of the nursery phase. Intake amount governs delivery of nutrients, alters rate of passage and impacts microbial communities throughout the gastrointestinal tract. 

Nitrates in your forages – beware!

Posted on September 10, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Michelle Der Bedrosian
Most producers would probably say 2019 has been a stressful cropping season.  Many of our crops have experienced their own kinds of stress – and this could result in dangerous conditions as we harvest and put up forages.

5 Things You Should Know About Prebiotics and Probiotics

Posted on August 21, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Jenn Rowntree, Vita Plus calf and heifer specialist
Both pre- and probiotics have shown the ability to resist invasion of harmful pathogens by preventing them from binding to cells in the GIT or binding directly to (and subsequently destroying) these invading pathogens. They can help improve the gastrointestinal tract environment for ingestion and digestion, thus increasing feed efficiency, and improve the overall immune system by regulating gut barrier function.  Most companies involved in animal health, reproduction, and nutrition have added a variety of prebiotic and/or probiotic products to their portfolios in recent years. Let’s explore some common questions about these feed additives.

Minimize milk fat depression in the heat of summer

Posted on August 1, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Barry Visser
Enhancing milk fat is beneficial to animal performance and farm profitability. Today, butterfat accounts for more than half of your milk check. Production goals are often based on combined milk fat and protein yields. Although the dog days of summer may not be an ideal time to improve milk fat, several factors may help you minimize your decline.

Estimate corn’s tasseling date

Posted on July 18, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Steve Murty, Vita Plus forage specialist
When should I make the call for fungicide application on my corn crop?  In this video, we learn an easy way to estimate when corn will tassel, which is also the best time to apply fungicide.  

4 ways to evaluate your corn plant stand

Posted on June 20, 2019 in Dairy Performance

Forage quality is one of the biggest ways to impact your farm’s nutrition program success and manage out-of-pocket expenses.  Many factors influence forage quantity and quality, starting with the seed and its first few days in the ground.  In this video, Dr. Michelle Der Bedrosian and Steve Murty with the Vita Plus forage team walk you through four steps to evaluate your corn plant stand.

7 steps to maximize income over feed costs

Posted on June 10, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Rod Martin
Evaluating feed costs is a double-edged sword.  Because it’s your largest expense, cost-cutting measures could be extremely significant in reducing cost of production.  On the other hand, milk production and components are the economic engine that drives cash flow.  Saving 20 cents per cow daily in feed costs while losing 50 cents in productivity is not a good economic tradeoff decision.  

5 summer calf ventilation checkpoints

Posted on May 30, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Ann Hoskins
If you haven't already, now is the time for routine maintenance on your calf facility ventilation system.  Good air quality goes a long way in promoting calf health.  Plus, an efficiently working ventilation system saves dollars on your bottom line.

8 ways to control alfalfa quality

Posted on May 2, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Nathan Hrnicek
Typically, to achieve higher-quality alfalfa, the crop is harvested earlier (between 23 and 28 days). Harvesting in the early- to mid-bud stage is still the best and most practical way to maximize quality.  

Another way to maximize quality is to maximize leaf retention.  The leaves are where you get an increase in quality because they are more digestible compared to the stems.  More overall leaves means lower undigestible material, which means higher-quality alfalfa.  To help maintain or increase leaf retention and improve quality, here are some other practices you can enact during the harvest process.

Maintain heifer health through temperature swings

Posted on April 18, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Noah Litherland
While we enjoy spring's warmer weather, this is usually a stressful season for calves and heifers.  Increased ambient temperature during the day, increased humidity, and cooler nights have clear impacts on heifer intakes and health.  Coccidiosis and respiratory challenges are common due to fluctuating temperatures and environmental stress.

3 ways to cope with high-mycotoxin feeds

Posted on April 1, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Eric Schwab
Mycotoxins are present in a wide range of livestock feeds. While the focus has been primarily on cereal grains, haylage and hay can also contain mycotoxins.  Grain byproducts, such as distiller’s grains and corn gluten feed, can have mycotoxin concentrations two to three times greater than the parent material as little mycotoxin destruction occurs during processing and concentration occurs in the byproduct stream.  Testing for mycotoxins should be considered when symptoms of toxicity exist among a large population of animals on your farm and cannot be readily explained.

Can you feed reduced-lignin alfalfa with BMR corn?

Posted on March 8, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Barry Visser
High-quality forages are essential to maximize performance in lactating dairy cows, especially if your goal is to feed high-forage diets.  With the introduction of reduced-lignin alfalfa, some producers ask if pairing this product with brown midrib (BMR) corn will result in too much digestible fiber. 

While controlled research on feeding both reduced-lignin alfalfa and BMR corn silage is limited, producers are having success with this strategy.  The decision and extent to move toward lower-lignin forages are farm-specific.

Prevent the pain of frostbite for calves

Posted on February 6, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Jenn Rowntree
We're likely to see more bitter cold temperatures yet this winter.  Unless frostbite is caught and treated early, the results are often permanent and detrimental.  With limited treatment options, prevention of frostbite is the best strategy.