Grass silage: Success and challenges – Dr. Michelle Windle, Vita Plus

Posted on July 25, 2017 in Forage Foundations

By Dr. Michelle Windle, Vita Plus forage products and dairy technical services specialist
Many factors may influence a producer’s decision to grow grass silage, such as a need for somewhere to put manure, a land topography that requires a cover crop, or a limited forage inventory that could use some quality feed to stretch it.  Grass silage can offer many advantages to both the animal and the producer. 

Ask the expert: Wet alfalfa – Dr. Michelle Windle, Vita Plus

Posted on May 23, 2017 in Forage Foundations

By Dr. Michelle Windle, Vita Plus forage products and dairy technical services specialist

Question:  I cut alfalfa almost one week ago but, due to rainy weather, I can only just now get out in the field to chop it.  How can I salvage this crop? 

Answer:  In many areas across the Midwest, alfalfa is ready to be harvested, but this last week brought a lot of rain and next week looks like more of the same.  Alfalfa is already prone to a higher pH than corn silage due to the presence of minerals and proteins that resist a pH drop.

Retain those leaves! – Jon Urness, Vita Plus

Posted on May 23, 2017 in Forage Foundations

By Jon Urness, Vita Plus national forage specialist
Have you ever looked at your alfalfa hay or haylage and wondered, “What is the value of the leaves and stems?”  Probably not, but the nerds among us might find the answer to that at least interesting.  More importantly, the forage, dairy and beef producers among us may find such information critical to the success of their forage programs.

VIDEO: Forage sampling video – Bunkers and piles – Brittany Gevelinger, Vita Plus

Posted on May 23, 2017 in Forage Foundations

By Brittany Gevelinger, Vita Plus Dodgeville dairy specialist
In this final video of our five-part series, Brittany Gevelinger walks through the proper steps of sampling bunkers and piles to help you make management and nutrition decisions.

Haylage: Back to the Basics – Dr. Michelle Windle, Vita Plus

Posted on March 16, 2017 in Forage Foundations

Harvest season can seem like a sprint from one field to another.  However, taking the time to do the basics correctly when harvesting haylage will help keep custom harvesters and dairy producers in business, according to Dr. Michelle Windle, Vita Plus forage products and dairy technical service specialist.

Wide Swathing and Low-Lignin Alfalfa – Dr. Dan Undersander, University of Wisconsin-Extension

Posted on March 16, 2017 in Forage Foundations

In the last 80 years, milk production and the dairy industry have experienced considerable advancements.  To keep up with this progress, Dr. Dan Undersander, University of Wisconsin-Extension, said we will need to continue to innovate and use technology to provide the highest quality alfalfa possible.

Bales & Baleage – Dr. Thomas Chamberlain, DVM

Posted on March 16, 2017 in Forage Foundations

Baleage may not get a lot of attention here in the United States, but it accounts for 10 to 25 percent of all silage in western Europe, according to Dr. Thomas Chamberlain.  During his presentation at the Vita Plus Custom Harvester Meeting, Chamberlain, a private forage and dairy health consultant, explained the advantages of baleage for British producers and how some of those advantages may also apply to U.S. producers.

VIDEO: Forage sampling video – Upright silos – Richard Mensendike, Vita Plus

Posted on January 26, 2017 in Forage Foundations

By Richard Mensendike, Vita Plus dairy specialist
In this fourth video of a five-part series, Richard Mensendike, Vita Plus Lanark livestock specialist, walks through the proper steps of sampling upright silos to help you make management and nutrition decisions.  We’ll discuss sampling strategies for other storage structures and feed in upcoming editions of Forage Foundations.

The state of Shredlage in 2016 – Jon Urness, Vita Plus

Posted on November 29, 2016 in Forage Foundations

By Jon Urness, Vita Plus national forage specialist
When Shredlage® was introduced in 2008, it caused quite a stir among dairy producers, nutritionists, custom chopper operators, equipment manufacturers and university researchers. 

VIDEO: Forage sampling video – Total mixed rations – Brittany Gevelinger, Vita Plus

Posted on November 29, 2016 in Forage Foundations
By Brittany Gevelinger, Vita Plus Dodgeville dairy specialist
In this third video of a five-part series, Brittany Gevelinger walks through the proper steps of sampling total mixed rations (TMR) to help you make management and nutrition decisions.  We’ll discuss sampling strategies for other storage structures and feed in upcoming editions of Forage Foundations.

The “fine” details on silage storage and particle size – Margaret Quaassdorff, Vita Plus

Posted on September 23, 2016 in Forage Foundations
By Margaret Quaassdorff, Vita Plus Lake Mills dairy specialist
In the July 2016 Forage Foundations, we reported particle size differences existed in haylage and corn silage when stored in bags versus bunkers and piles.  We’ll now focus on the implications of those differences on the rate of digestion and passage, rumen and overall cow health, production, and whether the cow will consume the entire balanced ration.

Processing snaplage: A rock and a hard place – Pat Hoffman, Vita Plus

Posted on September 23, 2016 in Forage Foundations
By Pat Hoffman, Vita Plus dairy technical specialist
This past summer, a team of Vita Plus dairy specialists evaluated new laboratory techniques to predict rates of starch digestibility and how to use these rates in ration formulation.  One of our biggest findings was starch digestion rates of snaplage stored for nine to 12 months are fast - too fast in many cases. 

Successful high moisture corn harvest and storage – Jon Urness, Vita Plus

Posted on September 23, 2016 in Forage Foundations
By Jon Urness, Vita Plus national forage specialist
Dairy producers have successfully harvested, stored, and fed high moisture corn (HMC) for years, but problems can occur for the best producers.  Even with relatively low corn prices, HMC is still worth more than $100 per ton.  For the sake of cash flow, high production, and animal health, it pays huge dividends to get things done right, and it starts with harvesting at the correct moisture.

VIDEO: Forage sampling video – Silage bags – Richard Mensendike, Vita Plus

Posted on September 23, 2016 in Forage Foundations
By Richard Mensendike, Vita Plus dairy specialist
In this second video of a five-part series, Richard Mensendike walks through the proper steps of sampling silage bags to help you make management and nutrition decisions.  We’ll discuss sampling strategies for other storage structures and feed in upcoming editions of Forage Foundations.

Forage particle size influenced by storage method? Absolutely! – Margaret Quaassdorff, Vita Plus

Posted on July 29, 2016 in Forage Foundations
By Margaret Quaassdorff, Vita Plus Lake Mills dairy specialist
You may have taken forage samples from different storage structures, like bags, bunkers or piles, and observed a difference in particle size distribution.  Vita Plus National Forage Specialist Jon Urness and I dedicated more thought and observation to find why forage particle sizes may vary coming out of different storage structures and if the distributions truly differ.  It seems reasonable to assume that, during harvest, feed going through a bagger would be processed to a greater degree than feed stored in a bunker or pile, due to more aggressive filling and packing mechanisms.

VIDEO: Forage sampling video – Baled hay and baleage – Brittany Gevelinger, Vita Plus

Posted on July 29, 2016 in Forage Foundations
By Brittany Gevelinger, Vita Plus Dodgeville dairy specialist
In this first video of a five-part series, Brittany Gevelinger walks through the proper steps to of sampling baled and baleage to help you make management and nutrition decisions.  We’ll discuss sampling strategies for other storage structures and feed in upcoming editions of Forage Foundations.