Heat abatement up to par?

Posted on April 17, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Darin Bremmer
Heat stress can start to impact high-producing cows once the temperature reaches above 65 degrees F.  With warmer temperatures on the horizon, now is the perfect time to assess your heat abatement strategies and make any necessary changes to avoid substantial economic impacts.

Involve these 3 people in farm transfer

Posted on April 3, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Gary Sipiorski
Transferring a dairy farm to the next generation can be complicated.  No one wants to make it difficult, but the process involves many details.  Written terms and agreements must be done properly. 

Calf program checklist: Fly control

Posted on March 24, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator
As spring begins, it’s time to put your fly control plan into action. The key to good fly control is getting ahead of them and staying vigilant throughout the season.

What do we do with low-moisture corn silage?

Posted on February 20, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Darin Bremmer
We knew fields were wetter than normal heading into fall harvest, but we didn’t expect the season’s heavy rains.

Corn also matured quicker this year, resulting in drier-than-normal corn silage.  It dried even more as farmers waited out the rain to get back in the field.  To properly harvest and feed this dry corn silage, it came down to adjusting the basics, including kernel processing, chopping height, packing, and good fermentation.

Goofy winter could mean winterkill

Posted on February 8, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Jon Urness
I don’t think any of us are big fans of this year’s up-and-down winter weather conditions.  Unfortunately, our alfalfa fields might not be big fans of it either.  Wet fields in the fall, followed by big temperature fluctuations, ice and a diminished snow cover could lead to alfalfa winterkill.  

Warm days and cool nights impact heifer respiratory health

Posted on January 16, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Noah Litherland
Maintaining nutrient intake balance and respiratory health can be a challenge during the first quarter of the calendar year.  Increased ambient temperature during the day, increased humidity, and cooler nights have clear impacts on heifer intake and health.

Understand milk fat depression and prevent it in your cows

Posted on December 22, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Stacy Nichols
A shift in the metabolism of dietary oils in the rumen is now recognized as the major cause of milk fat depression.  The cause of this shift is related to two main factors: the amount of vegetable oil in the diet and rumen pH.

Dairy heifers need some fresh air

Posted on November 18, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist
Fresh air is something we sometimes take for granted out in the country.  We give considerable thought and effort to making sure our milk replacer program is right or our pasteurizer is working correctly, but perhaps we should think more about the quality of air in our calf and heifer facilities. 

Be safe around manure pits

Posted on October 18, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Scott Hall
Agriculture is one of the most dangerous industries to work in when it comes to injuries and fatalities in the work place. In 2013, 23.3 fatalities per 100,000 workers were reported in the agriculture industry alone. Although no shortage of dangerous jobs exists in agriculture, one of the more hazardous areas to work in or near is the manure pit. This is a hazard many farm workers and family members can be exposed to, specifically the gases given off, and, if proper safety measures are neglected, death can result from exposure.

Sweat the small stuff with your dairy cow ration

Posted on September 23, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Silvia Onetti
Everybody has heard the phrase, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”  We say it to focus more on the big picture and less on the fine details. 

Don’t skimp on the details and you’ll find the lost dollars (Part 2)

Posted on September 15, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Laurie Winkelman
In Part 1of this article series, we discussed the details involved in good forage and feeding management to help prevent lost dollars. This second article will focus on the details of cow comfort and reproductive management to help boost your farm’s bottom line regardless of the milk markets.

Strong transition requires more than a great ration

Posted on September 7, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Nicole Barkley
You have many options to choose from when it comes to feeding dry cows.  You may favor a single dry cow group over a two-group system, feed anionic salts and high or low calcium, or incorporate high levels of straw. 

Copper concentration in dairy rations: Should we be concerned?

Posted on August 22, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Zach Sawall
A persistent concern on many dairy farms is the rising copper concentration levels in cattle liver samples. According to Dr. Jeremy Schefers, University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, the concern stems from the common usage of copper sulfate in footbaths to control digital dermatitis and the subsequent higher copper concentrations in manure and on cropland.

Don’t skimp on the details and you’ll find the lost dollars (Part 1)

Posted on August 16, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Laurie Winkelman
In tough economic times, nutritionists often get questions and requests to reduce feed costs on farms. From a nutrition standpoint, a cow needs what a cow needs and that won’t change if milk is $25 per cwt or $12 per cwt.

Taking on low milk prices

Posted on August 1, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Rod Wautlet
The Class III futures are looking better than they were, but they still aren’t great.

How much is feed shrink costing you?

Posted on July 25, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Andy Kniesly
Feed costs represent one of the largest expenses on a dairy farm. As dairy farmers look for ways to improve their profitability, they often look for ways to reduce their feed costs. One area that sometimes gets overlooked in the quest to reduce feed costs is feed shrink.