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.

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. 

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.

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.

Regional reports: The state of forages across the Midwest

Posted on August 17, 2021 in Forage Foundations

Vita Plus consultants from Minnesota to Ohio share their observations of the 2021 growing season and what they anticipate for this year's corn silage harvest.

16 steps to cover silage piles

Posted on August 17, 2021 in Forage Foundations

By Andy Carlson, Vita Plus dairy specialist
The final step of harvest – and one of the most critical steps – is to effectively cover and seal our bunkers and piles to limit oxygen and protect forages.  We depend on bacteria to ferment and preserve forage, and virtually all these bacteria need a low-oxygen environment to efficiently do the job.  Here are some recommendations to help you cover forages safely, efficiently and effectively.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.