How do we feed low-moisture corn silage?

Posted on October 1, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Darin Bremmer, Vita Plus regional sales manager
Parts of our market area saw intense rainfall and flooding in recent weeks, causing a delay in harvest until the fields can dry out.  Other parts saw the exact opposite and have dealt with severe drought for the better part of the growing season.

Both crop situations can result in low moisture levels and these producers will have to work through the unique challenges of harvesting low-moisture corn silage.  When it comes to properly harvesting and feeding dry corn silage, it helps to adjust harvest basics - such as kernel processing, chopping height and packing - to achieve a good fermentation.

The good, bad and deadly of silo gases

Posted on September 17, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Michelle Der Bedrosian
As producers fill silos, bunkers or bags, I often get calls about gases coming off the silage.  During fermentation, many different gases are formed.  For the most past, this is very normal.  I expect gas formation to occur for roughly a week after a silo is sealed, although some silos can produce gas longer.  While some gases are harmless, others are deadly.  You can never be too cautious when it comes to silo gas.

Inoculants: Claims you can count on

Posted on August 22, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Jon Urness
Here in the land of wide open spaces and free markets, it’s fairly easy to put together a silage additive simply by choosing a few likely characters for bacteria, mixing them in a bottle, slapping on a label, and touting it as being well researched and proven – with little or no interference from regulators.

Inoculant storage and transporation to make the most of the investment

Posted on August 13, 2018 in Dairy Performance

An incredible number of forage management practices must go right to produce quality feed for livestock.  As corn silage harvest approaches, you need to make sure you have enough bacterial inoculant on-hand before you head out to the fields.  Now is the time to double-check your inventory.

Wise investments in heifer raising

Posted on August 8, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Cody Yanzick and Ann Hoskins
Calves are naturally herd animals, but, on many farms, the transition period is the first time they are grouped with others, bringing about a set of challenges that need specialized attention.  Limiting stress on calves can offer some of the greatest paybacks in terms of health and performance.

Alfalfa can calm the protein landscape

Posted on July 30, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Nathan Hrnicek & Stacy Nichols
Dairy producers are looking for opportunities to maintain margins amid increasing protein and byproduct costs.  Growing and feeding more high-quality alfalfa could provide the solution.

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.