Nutrition and reproductive success

Posted on February 9, 2021 in Dairy Performance

By Barry Visser
Reproductive success is a major component of economic success in dairy herds. The feeding program throughout all production stages is important for optimizing a herd’s reproductive efficiency.

Choose your best strategy for fat supplementation

Posted on October 16, 2020 in Dairy Performance

By Marin Western
No longer do we consider fat just fat.  Current research on fat supplementation to lactating dairy cows is focused on individual fatty acids. Recent studies at Michigan State University have especially highlighted the impacts of individual fatty acids and how we can better utilize the commercial products available to us in the industry.

Amino acid balancing: Benefits go beyond components

Posted on September 10, 2020 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Eric Schwab
The classically discussed benefits of amino acid balancing are typically increases in milk component yield, reduced metabolizable protein (MP) required, and increased efficiency of protein use. This focus is understandable as these benefits are the easiest to quantify economically.  However, recent research shows that these most tangible benefits are not the only reasons why amino acid nutrition should be adopted.

Any heat stress abatement is better than nothing

Posted on June 30, 2020 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Andy Kniesly
After just a few hot days, it is not uncommon to see milk production losses of 5 to 15 pounds of milk per cow day. That might be just the tip of the iceberg as heat stress can lead to a long list of other animal health and performance consequences. A lot of factors go into designing heat abatement systems for dairies, which require a solid understanding of your facilities and environment.  Here are some very common areas that we can focus on to help us prioritize where to start.

Grow heifers BEFORE calving

Posted on June 9, 2020 in Dairy Performance

By Barry Visser
The goal of most heifer replacement programs is to raise high-quality, healthy heifers in an efficient and economical manner.  Bodyweight of a heifer at the time of first calving is a proxy for growth and size. If heifers have not reached the desired size at calving, they will continue to grow during lactation. This is much less efficient and happens at the expense of milk production.

Waves of Change: Vita Plus Dairy Summit Recap

Posted on January 30, 2020 in Dairy Performance

During Vita Plus Dairy Summit in December, attendees explored many “waves of change” in the dairy industry.  If you did not attend the event – or did attend and are looking for a refresher – browse the topics in this post to access the full event e-news.

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.

Choose your ketosis monitoring tool

Posted on August 31, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Zach Sawall
In early lactation, cows enter negative energy balance.  This comes from increased energy demands for milk production, which can’t be met from dry matter (DM) intake.  If cows can’t adjust to this negative energy balance, excess body reserves are mobilized, leading to higher counts of nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) and ketones, specifically beta-hydroxy butyrate (BHBA).

Evaluate repro program with these 4 questions

Posted on June 12, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Andy Kniesly
Reproductive performance on dairies is one of many key areas that can have a huge impact on profitability. It is no surprise dairy farmers continue to look for ways to improve reproduction programs.

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. 

A smooth transition

Posted on September 11, 2015 in Dairy Performance
By Sarah Fraley The transition period for a dairy cow is often considered her most stressful time in the course of her lactation. Typically defined as the three weeks prior to the three weeks after calving, the transition period consists of rapid changes in the cow’s metabolic needs as well as many physiological changes associated

DCAD: Important for dry and lactating dairy cattle

Posted on September 2, 2015 in Dairy Performance
By Dr. Eric Schwab When we say “electrolytes” on a dairy farm, one of the first things that come to mind is feeding electrolytes to scouring calves.  Electrolytes play an important role in the cow’s diet as well.  When we’re talking about electrolytes for adult animals, the term we commonly use is DCAD. Electrolytes are

Building better heifer breeding criteria

Posted on June 23, 2014 in Dairy Performance
By Pat Hoffman For years, dairy producers have been told they should target specific breeding weights and lower the average breeding age of their heifers. There’s just one small problem with this school of thought:  No single heifer calves at the "average" age. Dairy farmers calve distributions of heifers, not the average. In other words,

Testing for ketosis: Can it be that easy?

Posted on November 15, 2013 in Dairy Performance
By Kevin Caspersen and John Brantsen In previous Dairy Performance articles, we’ve discussed the importance of testing for and monitoring subclinical ketosis in dairy cows.  We’ve often highlighted the Precision Xtra® blood meter as a simple cowside tool for evaluating ketosis.  But is it really that simple?  We conducted an on-farm survey last year to

Stop the drain of fresh cow disorders

Posted on October 17, 2013 in Dairy Performance
By Dr. Laurie Winkelman Like a slow leak from a car tire that eventually turns into a flat, subclinical ketosis and milk fever can slowly drain profits from your dairy. Cows with subclinical ketosis or milk fever will appear completely normal, floating under the radar of common detection tools and treatments.  Making real changes to