Nitrates in your forages – beware!

Posted on September 10, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Michelle Der Bedrosian
Most producers would probably say 2019 has been a stressful cropping season.  Many of our crops have experienced their own kinds of stress – and this could result in dangerous conditions as we harvest and put up forages.

Estimate corn’s tasseling date

Posted on July 18, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Steve Murty, Vita Plus forage specialist
When should I make the call for fungicide application on my corn crop?  In this video, we learn an easy way to estimate when corn will tassel, which is also the best time to apply fungicide.  

4 ways to evaluate your corn plant stand

Posted on June 20, 2019 in Dairy Performance

Forage quality is one of the biggest ways to impact your farm’s nutrition program success and manage out-of-pocket expenses.  Many factors influence forage quantity and quality, starting with the seed and its first few days in the ground.  In this video, Dr. Michelle Der Bedrosian and Steve Murty with the Vita Plus forage team walk you through four steps to evaluate your corn plant stand.

8 ways to control alfalfa quality

Posted on May 2, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Nathan Hrnicek
Typically, to achieve higher-quality alfalfa, the crop is harvested earlier (between 23 and 28 days). Harvesting in the early- to mid-bud stage is still the best and most practical way to maximize quality.  

Another way to maximize quality is to maximize leaf retention.  The leaves are where you get an increase in quality because they are more digestible compared to the stems.  More overall leaves means lower undigestible material, which means higher-quality alfalfa.  To help maintain or increase leaf retention and improve quality, here are some other practices you can enact during the harvest process.

Can you feed reduced-lignin alfalfa with BMR corn?

Posted on March 8, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Barry Visser
High-quality forages are essential to maximize performance in lactating dairy cows, especially if your goal is to feed high-forage diets.  With the introduction of reduced-lignin alfalfa, some producers ask if pairing this product with brown midrib (BMR) corn will result in too much digestible fiber. 

While controlled research on feeding both reduced-lignin alfalfa and BMR corn silage is limited, producers are having success with this strategy.  The decision and extent to move toward lower-lignin forages are farm-specific.

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 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.”

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.

Bank on corn silage in your rations

Posted on August 27, 2015 in Dairy Performance
By Dr. Darin Bremmer What was once considered a high corn silage diet is not high compared to today’s standards.  We commonly feed diets containing at least 80 percent of the forage dry matter (DM) from corn silage. One of the biggest reasons for this change is consistency.  It is much easier to put up

Understanding starch digestibility inside and out

Posted on August 11, 2015 in Dairy Performance
By Pat Hoffman We feed lactating cows starch sources that may be ground, flaked, processed, rolled or ensiled.  In addition, we store feeds containing starch in bags, bunkers and bins at different moisture contents for different lengths of time. With all these possible combinations, figuring out starch digestibility in the feeds we put in front

12-point check for small grain forages

Posted on April 7, 2015 in Dairy Performance
By Pat Hoffman Producers used to only plant small grains in the spring for forage when they faced alfalfa winterkill or needed a companion crop for alfalfa seedings. Times have changed and small grain forages are now commonly and diversely used to augment a wide array of forage needs.  In addition, small grain forages are

Fall milk slump and low digestible forages?

Posted on November 20, 2014 in Dairy Performance
By Rod Martin In the past couple months, we have heard a lot of discussion on lower milk production and higher components. We typically see this phenomenon every year during the fall season, but it seems to be more pronounced this year. Consultants and producers have been evaluating and implementing ration strategies with the goal

Bank on corn silage in your rations

Posted on November 10, 2014 in Dairy Performance
By Dr. Darin Bremmer Looking back a number of years, it was rare to feed a milk cow diet with more than 50 percent of the forage dry matter (DM) coming from corn silage.  Today, it’s common to feed diets with at least 80 percent of the forage DM coming from this crop. That pushes

HMSC: Don’t forget the H

Posted on October 15, 2014 in Dairy Performance
By Jon Urness Dairy producers have successfully harvested, stored and fed high moisture corn for many years. By now, most have the routine down pat. But when things go wrong, it’s often the lack of high moisture that causes problems.  Naturally, too much moisture can be a challenge as well, but the material won’t pack

Harvesting fall-seeded rye as silage

Posted on March 13, 2013 in Dairy Performance
By Jon Urness Spring harvesting of fall-seeded small grain grasses such as rye, triticale, and wheat as haylage has been popular in some areas of the country. Interest in this practice has spread in the Midwest as a source of forage for replacements and the opportunity to maximum forage yield by double-cropping in combination with