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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Drought-stressed corn: Should you high-chop?

Posted on August 17, 2021 in Forage Foundations

By Dr. Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian, Vita Plus forage products and dairy technical services
Due to the severity and timing of drought in parts of the Midwest, multiple conditions are occurring simultaneously: (1) The plant’s growth is stunted during the grain-fill stage, leading to low starch content, (2) dry conditions have led to plants that are at the right dry matter (DM) for harvesting, and (3) the bottoms of corn stalks are accumulating nitrates.  Evaluate your crop and forage inventories to determine if high-chopping is a wise choice for your farm.

Less shrink. Less spoilage. MORE HOMEGROWN FEED!

Posted on June 24, 2021 in Forage Foundations

One way to control costs on your dairy is to retain as much of your homegrown forages as possible.  Learn about our line of Crop-N-Rich forage inoculants and Silostop oxygen barrier plastic.

Potential causes of lower crude protein in small grain silage this year

Posted on June 7, 2021 in Forage Foundations

By Ashley Blackburn, Vita Plus agronomy and forage specialist
Colder soil temperatures, frost and less rain than a normal growing season plus other stressors can affect crops in different ways, especially crude protein levels in small grain silages.

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.

Bacterial inoculant or organic acid: Which is best for forages?

Posted on June 7, 2021 in Forage Foundations

By Eugene Rodberg, Kemin product manager
When should we use an acid and when should we use a bacterial inoculant?  This question is not easy to answer because the answer changes from day to day.  To understand when to best use these products, we need to understand why we use these products.

Challenges of feeding late-season alfalfa

Posted on February 22, 2021 in Forage Foundations

By Stacy Nichols, Vita Plus dairy technical specialist
Producers are often enticed to take a late-season alfalfa harvest after a freeze or frost because it helps boost forage inventories, does little harm to the plant, and often has high crude protein levels and low fiber content. Despite these benefits, this alfalfa rarely feeds well, and we have some theories.

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

Posted on February 22, 2021 in Forage Foundations

By Dr. Zach Sawall, Vita Plus dairy nutritionist and technical services specialist, and Pat Hoffman, Vita Plus dairy technical support specialist
“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.

2021 Wisconsin Agronomy Update: Alfalfa and alternative forages

Posted on February 22, 2021 in Forage Foundations

Kevin Jarek and Dr. Matt Akins, University of Wisconsin Extension
During this year's virtual Wisconsin Agronomy Update, University of Wisconsin extension agents provided attendees with an update on Wisconsin’s alfalfa landscape and explained how alternative forages have increased in production to make up for lost alfalfa yields.