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.

Don’t let summer heat spoil your feeds

Posted on July 13, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Michelle Windle
The sun is shining, the smell of grilled brats is in the air, ice cream is on my mind and the kids are laughing as they run through the sprinkler. 

There’s no denying it.  It’s summertime and with warmer temperatures come TMR heating and spoiling.

Feeding to win (Part 2)

Posted on July 8, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Nick Uglow
As I mentioned in the first article of this series, following the same management practices as in a commercial setting - keeping calves clean and dry in a facility with proper ventilation, offering clean water, and managing them in a consistent manner - will keep the fair-prospect calf, in any barn, on par with the desired growth. 

Feeding to win (Part 1)

Posted on July 7, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Nick Uglow
“There she is!” you think to yourself. 

“She” is that special heifer born the first week of September, who happens to be a couple inches taller than the older August heifers rooming in the same place as her. The daughter of the giant brood cow is easily spotted when pushing up feed to the headlocks.  This heifer would be the perfect candidate to take to the county fair for this year’s 4-H project.

The 10 commandments for feeding cows during low milk prices

Posted on June 24, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Eric Schwab
When times of plenty pass and margins shrink, pencils are sharpened and costs are scrutinized. Savings need to be found and efficiencies gained. Here are opportunities to fine-tune your operation.

Hire employees focused on service

Posted on May 13, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Brittany Gevelinger
Anyone can be a leader as long as he or she understands that service is the basis of leadership, knows that being authentic means being a leader in every aspect life, and has a servant’s heart.

Milk the money-makers

Posted on April 25, 2016 in Dairy Performance

By Stacy Nichols
With the current low margins, more emphasis needs to be placed on the factors that impact dairy farm profitability.   Dairies should milk as many profitable cows as possible to maximize the milking parlor – without exceeding the capacity to take care of cows.