Leverage the fermentation process for feed

Posted on January 16, 2024 in Dairy Performance
By Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian, Ph.D., and Owen Mickley | Efficient, upfront fermentation is important to the nutrient profile of a forage. When forage is ensiled, bacteria ferment water soluble sugars into lactic acid. This causes a reduction in the pH of the forage mass, which prevents the growth of undesirable microorganisms during storage. These lactic acid-producing bacteria naturally occur on the plant in the field and may be applied via an inoculant. A more efficient fermentation will retain the digestible nutrients for use in the rumen.

Extend forage inventories without losing milk or increasing costs

Posted on October 2, 2023 in Dairy Performance
By Wyatt Smith, Vita Plus | With much of the Midwest facing limited rainfall and dry conditions, expected forage yield and forage inventories are an area of concern. Many producers have raised the question of how to best extend current forage inventories with the goal of minimal impact to milk output and feed costs.

Height considerations for corn silage cutting

Posted on September 8, 2023 in Dairy Performance
By Barry Visser, Vita Plus | Corn silage harvest is at the doorstep for many dairy farms across the Midwest.  The growing season has been nearly ideal for some while others have dealt with drought and, more recently, hail damage.  These growing differences, and other management considerations, make it difficult to have one common recommendation for corn silage cutting height.  There is a trade-off between reduced yields and higher quality as more stalk residue is left in the field.

Trial shows delayed sealing’s negative impact on forage quality

Posted on August 24, 2023 in Dairy Performance
By Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian, Ph.D., Vita Plus | The initial phase of making silage is the aerobic phase and it is characterized by the presence of oxygen. The aerobic phase begins when the plant is cut in the field and continues until the silo is sealed (either the plastic is laid on top of the silo or the bag silo is sealed) and oxygen is consumed by the upfront fermentation.

Cold weather stresses cows too

Posted on January 31, 2023 in Dairy Performance
By Barry Visser | This winter has presented us with nearly every weather scenario possible: fluctuating barometric pressures, bitter cold temperatures and wind chills, and mild temperatures with rain, ice, and fog. These changing weather systems have an impact on dairy cows and milk production. There are a few management considerations to minimize the impact of cold stress on milk production.

9 critical control points for TMR consistency

Posted on December 7, 2022 in Dairy Performance
By Dr. David Carlson | The feeding process requires skill and attention to detail to deliver a high-quality, uniform ration to all cows within a pen. The following nine critical control points can help you achieve TMR consistency.

Don’t miss the chance to make good silage

Posted on August 30, 2022 in Dairy Performance
By Barry Visser | Most corn planting happened two to four weeks later than normal thanks to April rains and below-average temperatures. Despite the later spring, corn silage harvest is just around the corner, and for a few in outlying areas, it has already begun. A few strategies can help determine when to hit the fields and how to put up the highest quality forage possible.

11 tips for efficient corn silage harvest and storage

Posted on August 5, 2022 in Dairy Performance
By Steve Murty | Nutrients lost through forage shrink have a real cost to your dairy. Here are 11 tips to efficiently harvest, pack, and cover your corn silage to reduce shrink and add dollars to the bottom line.

What’s the goal? More milk or reduced purchased feed costs?

Posted on September 29, 2021 in Dairy Performance
You’ve likely been told “variety A will produce more milk than variety B” when choosing your forage crop varieties. However, it usually doesn’t work exactly that way in the real world.

6 steps to get the most from your corn silage

Posted on August 9, 2021 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian
High purchased feed costs mean farms must get as much nutritional value as possible from their homegrown forages. These six steps can help you put up high-quality feed while limiting your potential for shrink and spoilage.

Foliar feeding: Data-driven decisions affect ROI

Posted on July 15, 2021 in Dairy Performance

By Steve Murty
Foliar feeding – applying nutrients to the leaves of plants – can provide the next level of forage production with enhanced yield and quality benefits.  However, before you invest in a foliar feeding system, consider the following factors that may impact success.  Data-driven decisions will deliver a higher return on investment (ROI).

You get what you pay for when it comes to forage inoculants

Posted on June 30, 2021 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian
Not all bacterial strains with the same name behave the same, and not all inoculants will provide the same level of quality and effectiveness.  Price will always be a consideration when purchasing a forage inoculant, but, before you purchase inoculant based on price alone, take a moment to understand the amount of research and money that goes into creating and marketing a viable forage inoculant.

Grass can fit well in your forage inventories and nutrient management plan

Posted on April 28, 2021 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Zach Sawall and Pat Hoffman
“What else can we fit into our crop rotation to get more tonnage from the acres we have to work?” Italian ryegrass can be an effective forage option whether you’re looking to rescue a winterkilled alfalfa field or wanting to put up a grass forage.

Sizing up your forage future

Posted on December 17, 2020 in Dairy Performance

By Nathan Hrnicek
If you are deciding to build a new forage storage site, such as a pile or bunker, it is important to consider the space required for these structures, the amount of forage you need at the present time and in the future, and your desired feedout rate.  Additionally, adding adequate apron space is another component often overlooked.

6 ways to get the most from your corn silage

Posted on August 17, 2020 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian
Much of the Midwest will be chopping corn silage in the next couple of weeks.  These six steps can help you put up high-quality feed while limiting your potential for shrink and spoilage.

2020 harvest: Go time is close!

Posted on August 6, 2020 in Dairy Performance

The 2020 corn crop looks good in much of the Midwest.  Vita Plus staff across the area provide a quick recap of this growing season and estimated corn silage harvest start dates.