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.

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. 

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.

Packing density: Choose equipment to get the job done

Posted on August 17, 2021 in Forage Foundations

By Becky Arnold, Lallemand Animal Nutrition
In the previous article in this series, we discussed the value of achieving at least 15 pounds of dry matter per cubic foot as well as managing the packing process to achieve adequate compaction.  In this article, we will discuss dual-wheel tractors, track tractors, and pull-type roller packers, and their effects on silage density.  

It won’t be a good harvest if it’s not safe

Posted on August 17, 2021 in Forage Foundations

By Kyle McLain, Vita Plus dairy specialist
Forage quality and quantity are very important for feed efficiency and profitability. However, safety trumps all of that when it comes to harvesting, storing and feeding forages. Nothing is more important than you and your employees returning safely and soundly to your families after a successful corn silage season. Here are some safety tips to consider when harvesting, storing and feeding forages.

The attraction to compaction

Posted on June 7, 2021 in Forage Foundations

By Becky Arnold, Lallemand Animal Nutrition territory business manager
Packing density is the most important factor influencing silage quality once the crop has been delivered to the silo. The more densely packed, the quicker oxygen is depleted, stopping plant respiration and the rapid growth of aerobic spoilage organisms.

Control costs with high-density bales

Posted on June 7, 2021 in Forage Foundations

By Dr. Kevin Shinners, University of Wisconsin-Madison Biological Systems Engineering Department
In addition to the cost of baling, hay and straw costs include those for gathering, transporting, storing, and feeding.  Long-distance trucking may be another cost.  The number of bales handled as well as their density and weight are important factors in these costs. 

VIDEO: Introducing the SCiO Cup: A portable dry matter analyzer

Posted on December 16, 2020 in Forage Foundations

Nathan Hrnicek, Vita Plus forage consultant, introduces the SCiO Cup by Consumer Physics and demonstrates how to use it to receive instant and accurate dry matter analyses of your forages.

7 Times Measuring the Moisture Content of Feeds Pays Off

Posted on September 25, 2020 in Forage Foundations

By Dr. Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian, Vita Plus forage products and dairy technical specialist
While most producers are concerned about moisture content around harvest time, it can be beneficial, as well as profitable, to measure moisture content at these seven times throughout the year. 

VIDEO: Preparing your kernel processor

Posted on August 17, 2020 in Forage Foundations

Part of a successful corn silage season is having a fine-tuned kernel processor. To help you get prepared for this year's harvest, we walk you through how to check if your kernel processor is ready to hit the fields.

“They said…” Lessons learned in the 2019 hemp harvest – Peter Hughes, Red Barn Consulting Inc.

Posted on March 11, 2020 in Forage Foundations

Hemp is now legal to grow in the U.S., and we continue to learn more about the plant each year. The tough, fibrous plant is traditionally hand-harvested, but Hughes explained how it can be harvested mechanically.

Using a handheld NIR reader

Posted on June 18, 2019 in Forage Foundations

By Jerry Ruetten, Vita Plus dairy specialist
Handheld near-infrared (NIR) spectrometers promise dairy producers instant feedstuff analysis in the palms of their hands. While the technology is still fairly new, we tested some of these devices and have some advice to help you get the most out of them.

8 ways to help control alfalfa quality during harvest – Nathan Hrnicek, Vita Plus

Posted on April 11, 2019 in Forage Foundations

By Nathan Hrnicek, Vita Plus forage consultant
Producers will soon be wondering when they should harvest alfalfa to maximize yield and maintain quality. These eight practices can help you control alfalfa quality throughout the harvest process.

To drive or not to drive? Wheel traffic and alfalfa yields – Steve Murty, Vita Plus

Posted on April 11, 2019 in Forage Foundations

By Steve Murty, Vita Plus forage products specialist
In the pursuit of greater alfalfa yields, farmers have inadvertently selected seed that requires heavier equipment to harvest. Research has shown driving on fields, especially when conditions don't support it, can cause soil compaction and significant yield reductions.

Hay rake type influences ash content – Abby Neu, University of Minnesota

Posted on April 11, 2019 in Forage Foundations

By Abby Neu, University of Minnesota extension educator
Ash can be internal or external. External ash is undesirable soil contamination, provides no nutritional value, adds unnecessary weight to forage, which increases cost, and can be influenced by the type of hay rake used.

Checklist: How do I prepare for next year? – Dr. Michelle Der Bedrosian, Vita Plus

Posted on September 26, 2018 in Forage Foundations

By Dr. Michelle Der Bedrosian, Vita Plus forage products and dairy technical specialist
While the last thing many producers' want to think about is NEXT YEAR'S harvest, it pays to make a checklist for what you can do now to ensure a successful and prosperous harvest next year.