Double down on homegrown protein

Posted on May 19, 2022 in Forage Foundations
Steve Murty, Vita Plus – Delayed planting, volatile grain markets and high feed costs are once again dominating agricultural headlines, reminding farms to double down on forage management practices to preserve homegrown protein yields and save out-of-pocket expenses.

Everyone should use inoculant this year

Posted on May 19, 2022 in Forage Foundations
Dr. Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian, Vita Plus – The value of silage has skyrocketed, which means the penalty of dry matter loss has also skyrocketed. In today’s markets, we cannot afford to skip inoculants.

What’s my farm’s manure worth?

Posted on May 19, 2022 in Forage Foundations
Ashley Blackburn, Vita Plus – Plants can’t distinguish between manure and commercial fertilizer, so taking advantage of these nutrients can help you manage fertilizer costs for crop production. Many factors can affect the nutrient composition of manure and the nutrient availability to plants. Understanding these factors can help you put a dollar value to your farm’s manure.

VIDEO: Fall dormancy of alfalfa

Posted on May 19, 2022 in Forage Foundations
Randy Welch, CROPLAN - In this video, Randy Welch describes fall dormancy of alfalfa and provides tips for selecting varieties that best fit your fields and forage needs.

Manage alfalfa quality losses with LEAF

Posted on May 19, 2022 in Forage Foundations
Dr. David Weakly, Forage Genetics International – One of the major factors negatively impacting harvested alfalfa forage quality is leaf loss. That’s because leaves have an RFQ of about 550 while stems have an RFQ of 70 to 80. A new equation predicts the percent of leaves in alfalfa from NDF, protein and NDFd28 measured in the sample.

Comparing handheld NIR meters on farm

Posted on May 19, 2022 in Forage Foundations
Dr. Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian, Vita Plus – The phrase “trust, but verify” can describe the approach many producers take to new technology, including handheld NIR meters. Here are some tips to verify the technology’s accuracy on your farm.

How low starch digestibility will affect the summer milk slump

Posted on March 10, 2022 in Forage Foundations
By Wyatt Smith, Vita Plus dairy specialist Much of the Upper Midwest has noted lower-than-normal starch digestibility in this year’s corn crops. With warm weather only a few months away, we’ve started to question what impact this lower starch digestibility will have on the traditional summer milk slump. 

What can I grow in a notoriously wet field?

Posted on March 10, 2022 in Forage Foundations
By Ashley Blackburn, Vita Plus agronomy and forage specialist If you battle wet conditions in the same field year after year, you may consider planting an alternative crop to meet your farm’s forage needs.  Grasses can be a good fit in these conditions, but all grasses are not created equal.

Feed and forage inventory management goes to new heights

Posted on March 10, 2022 in Forage Foundations
By Dr. Matt Gabler, regional business manager New technology now provides us with a safe, easy, insightful, and accurate means to evaluate and measure feed and forage inventory and management.  Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) – often referred to as drones - aren’t just for the military to protect our freedom; they are useful tools in maximizing operations in a wide variety of applications – including forage and feed management. 

Manage sorghum’s unique characteristics

Posted on March 10, 2022 in Forage Foundations
By Cody McCary, Vita Plus forage specialist Sorghum has proven useful as an alternative forage for many farms.  Here are some important items to consider when determining if sorghum may fit into your forage program.

Reduce spoilage at the feedbunk

Posted on March 10, 2022 in Forage Foundations
By Dr. Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian, Vita Plus forage products and dairy technical service Laboratory analysis of yeast counts finds the majority of silages in the Midwest are undergoing active spoilage during the spring, summer and fall months.  However, when asked, most producers say they do not have a spoilage problem.  This hidden spoilage problem can be a major source of forage shrink and can also lead to decreased milk production, intakes, animal health, and farm profitability. 

Regional reports: 2021 harvest wrap-up across the Midwest

Posted on November 5, 2021 in Forage Foundations
Steve Murty, central Iowa Central Iowa saw many surprises this harvest season while maintaining a severe drought status.  Forage yields were excellent for the summer hay crops.  Many producers said this year’s soybean yields were the best yields ever.  Corn silage tons per acre were up over the previous couple years and harvesters were able

Relationships key to 45 years of custom harvesting

Posted on November 5, 2021 in Forage Foundations
With Bob Headrick, Dias & Fragoso forage consultant A 45-year career in one industry gives a person a lot of perspective. Bob Headrick wouldn't describe his career as a forage custom harvester in California as smooth or easy. Several parallels can be drawn between the hurdles he faced and the challenges of today’s farms and custom harvesters. For Headrick, good relationships were key to overcoming obstacles.

Looking at corn silage through the lens of true forage

Posted on November 4, 2021 in Forage Foundations
Forage – the foundation of a dairy cow’s diet – is heavily impacted by variations during the growing season.  The emerging concept of “true forage” can be a highly effective tool for both the nutritionist and dairy producer.

Corn silage: What happens while it sits in storage?

Posted on November 4, 2021 in Forage Foundations
“How long do we need to wait before we break into the new corn silage?” I get asked this question each fall. It is always a good idea to remember why we suggest the typical “wait periods” that we do.

Select the right corn maturity for your growing area

Posted on November 4, 2021 in Forage Foundations
By Ashley Blackburn, Vita Plus agronomy and forage specialist One of the most important decisions you make each year is what corn variety to plant. Corn hybrids can be classified using relative maturity or growing degree days (GDD or GDU). These systems can help you determine which hybrid best fits your farm and goals.