Controlling birds and their mess

Posted on February 22, 2021 in Forage Foundations

By Jarrod Blackburn, Vita Plus dairy specialist
Many different bird species make a dairy farm “home” in the cooler months, posing a risk to the health of livestock and people as well as the farm’s bottom line. Luckily, you have options to control those bird populations and protect your investment.

2020 harvest: How did it go?

Posted on October 16, 2020 in Forage Foundations

Across most of the Midwest, corn silage harvest is complete. Vita Plus staff across the area provide a quick recap of this year's corn silage harvest and a preliminary quality assessment.

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. 

Winning the alfalfa game: Does RFQ tell the score?

Posted on June 17, 2020 in Forage Foundations

By Stacy Nichols, Vita Plus dairy technical specialist
The goal of managing alfalfa through harvest should not be to maximize relative feed quality (RFQ). Instead, it should be to achieve a balance between digestible fiber content and effective fiber. 

Spoiling silages and TMRs

Posted on June 17, 2020 in Forage Foundations

By Dr. Limin Kung, University of Delaware professor of animal and food sciences
Silages start to spoil when exposed to air. Because total mixed rations (TMR) contain silages, they are also prone to further spoilage in the feed bunk, and the consequences of feeding these feeds can vary depending on several factors.

Alternative forages can provide the nutrients cows need

Posted on June 17, 2020 in Forage Foundations

By Dr. Owen Mickley, Vita Plus dairy specialist
Last year many farmers planted alternative forage species and put up some "unfamiliar" feeds. When strategically incorporated into the feeding plan, alternative forages can provide us the opportunity to fill in the gaps without leaving milk on the table.

Tips for sorghum forage management

Posted on April 14, 2020 in Forage Foundations

By Dr. Matt Akins, University of Wisconsin-Madison assistant scientist
Last year’s growing season was difficult for many forage growers, and several producers made the decision to try sorghum forages with varying success. If you are looking to continue growing sorghum forages this year, keep these tips in mind.

Grain and kernel particle size: The math – Pat Hoffman, Vita Plus

Posted on March 11, 2020 in Forage Foundations

Kernel processing score is so important to progressive forage harvesters because a dairy cow can't access the starch in an unprocessed corn kernel and can experience a drop in milk production within 12 hours from a reduction in starch calories.

Harvesting and feeding early-chopped corn silage

Posted on August 21, 2019 in Forage Foundations

By Dr. Michelle Der Bedrosian, Vita Plus forage products and dairy technical specialist
Forage inventories are running low on many farms, and many producers are considering chopping corn silage early and feeding it right away. While this strategy has some benefits, immature corn can have some drawbacks if it is not harvested and fed correctly.

Alfalfa and grass silage chop lengths

Posted on June 18, 2019 in Forage Foundations

By Wyatt Smith, Vita Plus dairy specialist
Particle size is important to consider when feeding cows, but it is also important at the time of ensiling. With many producers growing grasses in place of alfalfa this year, the theoretical length of cut will need to be adjusted to get the most out of these forages.

Bad bugs, bad bugs…What can you do?

Posted on June 18, 2019 in Forage Foundations

By Dr. Michelle Der Bedrosian, Vita Plus forage products and dairy technical specialist
The excessive rainfall this growing season has many forages going into the bunker wetter than normal, which predisposes these feeds to some bad bacteria. If you suspect you have some bad bacteria in your feeds, here are some options you have available.

Optimize the use of foliar fungicide on alfalfa – Dr. Damon Smith, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Posted on April 11, 2019 in Forage Foundations

By Dr. Damon Smith, University of Wisconsin-Madison assistant professor and extension specialist
In the last 10 years, foliar fungicide applications have gained popularity in alfalfa meant for dairy production. These applications can be used to target foliar diseases, but they are now also being used to boost plant health and to protect yield potential.

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.

3 ways to cope with high-mycotoxin feeds – Dr. Eric Schwab, Vita Plus

Posted on February 1, 2019 in Forage Foundations

​By Dr. Eric Schwab, Vita Plus dairy technical specialist
Mycotoxins are present in a wide range of livestock feeds. If you determine that a mycotoxin challenge exists, here are 3 mitigation strategies to help alleviate the situation.

Can you feed reduced-lignin alfalfa with BMR corn? – Barry Visser, Vita Plus

Posted on February 1, 2019 in Forage Foundations

By Barry Visser, Vita Plus dairy technical specialist
With the introduction of reduced-lignin alfalfa, some producers wonder if pairing it with BMR corn will result in too much digestible fiber.  Although research is limited, some producers are having success with this feeding strategy.

Tar spot: A new challenge for corn silage production in the Midwest – Dr. Damon Smith, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Posted on September 26, 2018 in Forage Foundations

By Dr. Damon Smith, University of Wisconsin-Madison assistant professor and extension specialist 
Tar spot has hit the Midwest heavy and hard.  Researchers are doing everything they can to understand this relatively new corn disease and how it will affect yields and quality.