Vita Plus Calf Summit 2018 Recap

Posted on July 9, 2018 in Dairy Performance

More than 175 calf raisers, Vita Plus consultants and industry peers came together June 20 and 21 for Vita Plus Calf Summit 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  Follow the links in this post to access full event coverage, including speakers' PowerPoint presentations, articles and more.

Strategies to recruit and retain good employees

Posted on June 18, 2018 in Dairy Performance

​By Mark Case
Let’s face it, finding and retaining good employees is becoming a major hurdle on many dairy farms.  A few key strategies can give you an edge in finding and keeping great employees.

Oh hail no! Hail-damaged bags…what now?

Posted on June 5, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Vita Plus forage consultants
While we do our best to put up high-quality forage each year, sometimes Mother Nature has other plans. What is your strategy when disaster strikes your forage bags?

7 ways to save calf starter dollars

Posted on May 24, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Ann Hoskins
The best way to save on calf starter without sacrificing growth and performance is to limit waste. These seven steps can help you save money on calf starter.

Low-density silage piles equal lost dollars

Posted on May 18, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Nathan Hrnicek
Field work has begun and we’ll be cutting first-crop alfalfa in no time.  It’s amazing how much work can get done in such a short amount of time, but one process that should receive adequate time is silage packing. 

Applicator hibernation is over

Posted on May 4, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Jon Urness
It won't be long until we count on our forage inoculant applicators to apply inoculants reliably and accurately.  How we ease them into service could have a huge impact on how they perform throughout the harvest season.  Let’s concentrate on low-volume applicators powered by a peristaltic pump. 

7 signs calves are headed down a bad health path

Posted on April 25, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Ann Hoskins
Many calves show subtle signs of sickness before it becomes clinical. The “look, listen, smell and feel” strategy will help you identify those calves much earlier and can be used in all calf-raising systems. The key is to closely observe calves in the moment without making assumptions or overlooking small signs.

Inoculant mythbusters: Clearing the smoke and mirrors

Posted on April 18, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Michelle Windle
Each year, inoculant companies and their representatives vie for your business.  Decisions should be made based on proven facts rather than marketing, smoke and mirrors.  Therefore, we’d like to share some myths we’ve heard as well as some scientific responses to help “clear the smoke.”

Understand lending options

Posted on March 19, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Gary Sipiorski
Lenders of all kinds – banks, Farm Credit, credit unions, equipment manufacturers and others who make credit available to farmers – have many financing options. 

You may have heard many of the following terms, but it can be tough to understand what they mean for you.  Lenders live and breathe this terminology daily while farmers many only hear the terms once a year. 

Here are some of the more common lending “products” as they may be called by someone doing the financing.  Always remember, each lender will have his or her own policies, additional terminologies and methods.  In no way is should this list be considered complete.

Make the best mineral decisions for cow health and your wallet

Posted on March 12, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Mat Faulkner
In the past, we balanced micronutrients using the “holiday pie theory” – if some is good, more is better. 

But that isn’t the case anymore.  In fact, overfeeding micronutrients can not only be costly to the producer, but it can also be deadly to the animal.

5 steps to help your lender help you

Posted on February 26, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Gary Sipiorski
The relationship a dairy producer has with a lender is just as important as a strong balance sheet and cash flow.  The lender is the gatekeeper for tapping into future borrowings.

A dairy producers should take these five steps to maintain a healthy relationship with his or her lender.

‘Avalanche!’ – A word we don’t want to hear you say

Posted on February 15, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Michelle Windle
Many farms have a limited amount of space on the feed pad to store their homegrown forages.  This leads some producers to store multiple crops in close proximity.  January and February mark the time of year when many producers move from one crop to another.  Although avalanches can occur in a wide array of situations, it is especially common to see an avalanche at the interface between two crops.  This creates a dangerous situation.

Clear thinking with cloudy milk prices: 5 key ideas to see through the low-hanging price clouds

Posted on February 6, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Gary Sipiorski
Seasoned dairy producers have been through our cyclical milk price swings.  They recognize this low spot because they’ve been here before.  Those with less experience may feel more uncomfortable in the current situation, but that’s not to say any dairy producer is pleased with the prices.  Regardless, everyone must work through the low period. 

Here are five ideas to start the preparation process for however long it will take to get back to a higher milk price.  

Milk production opportunities are waiting in the feedbunk

Posted on January 22, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Jon Rasmussen
Have you visited a nature park and climbed to the top of a tall observation tower?  Finding your way through the woods is completely different after gaining this overview compared to standing on the ground.

How we observe cow behavior at the feedbunk can also really make a difference in what we see.  If we expand our view, we can gain a lot by improving feedbunk behavior.

The Right Focus: Vita Plus Dairy Summit 2017 Recap

Posted on January 8, 2018 in Dairy Performance

More than 330 dairy producers, Vita Plus consultants and industry peers came together December 6 and 7 for Vita Plus Dairy Summit 2017 in Madison, Wisconsin.  Follow the links in this post to access full event coverage, including speakers' PowerPoint presentations, articles, videos and more.

Applicator winterization

Posted on December 4, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Jon Urness
When it comes to inoculant application equipment, nothing is more frustrating than facing the first day of chopping in the spring with hay down and, when you try the applicator, all it does is make a puddle on the ground.  Now you’re scrambling to find parts or to cobble something together that will work until the parts arrive.  After all, when the hay is ready, you have to go no matter what.