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. 

VIDEO: Preparing your processor

Posted on July 25, 2017 in Forage Foundations

With corn silage harvest just around the corner, now is the perfect time to assess your kernel processor before the wheels get rolling.  In this edition of Forage Foundations, we walk through the areas you should check on your kernel processor and how to inspect them before harvest begins.

7 preseason checks for pressure pump applicators – Dwain Ewald, Vita Plus

Posted on May 23, 2017 in Forage Foundations

Editor’s note:  This article is geared toward systems manufactured by Dohrmann Enterprises, Inc., including the DE-100, DE-55, DE-45, DE-25, or DE-9, DE-8, DE-7 and DE-6.

By Dwain Ewald, Vita Plus Gagetown customer service
Whether it’s a pressure pump applicator on the bailer or at the silo blower, cleanliness is one of the first things I always check before use.  You don’t want to go through all the steps of cleaning and calibrating the system to find out the tips and filters are plugged with sediment and debris still in the tank.

Phantom feed thief – Gary Sipiorski, Vita Plus

Posted on May 23, 2017 in Forage Foundations

By Gary Sipiorski, Vita Plus dairy development manager
If you compare all the milking cows in the world by volume per cow, nobody can beat the U.S. dairy herd.  In fact, the U.S. dairy cow is one of the most productive and efficient milk producers in the world, and this has only increased with time. 

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.

Alfalfa checkoff program

Posted on May 23, 2017 in Forage Foundations

Alfalfa is the fourth most valuable field crop in the United States, and it’s also a key component of sustainable agricultural systems.  Despite these advantages, planted acres have decreased for more than two decades.  Beth Nelson, president of the National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance (NAFA), believes this decrease can, in part, be attributed to the lack of public policy and research into alfalfa.

Regional report: Spring planting and alfalfa progress – John Brantsen, Jerry Ruetten, Jon Rasmussen and Mark Case, Vita Plus

Posted on May 23, 2017 in Forage Foundations

Most of the crop season has had a slow and wet start, but, with promising weather on the horizon, farmers hope to get back in the fields soon.  Hear from our Vita Plus dairy and forage consultants as they provide insights on the planting and alfalfa progress across the Vita Plus market area.

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.

Keeping the Wheels Turning During Harvest – Don Seltzner, Mid-State Equipment

Posted on March 16, 2017 in Forage Foundations

When harvest season gets rolling, you don’t want an equipment issue to bring your operation to a halt in the middle of the field.  At the Vita Plus Custom Harvester Meeting 2017, Don Seltzner and Neal Sennhenn, Mid-State Equipment, said a preseason check and routine maintenance will help prevent many common machinery issues and keep the wheels turning during harvest.

Drones as Tools – Mitch and Zach Fiene, DMZ Aerial

Posted on March 16, 2017 in Forage Foundations

“Technology doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated,” said Mitch Fiene.  “It should make you more efficient at what you do.”

During their presentation at the Vita Plus Custom Harvester Meeting, Mitch shared some of the tools he and his cousin, Zach Fiene, are developing at their company, DMZ Aerial.

Phones and Tablets – Terry Seubert, Vita Plus

Posted on March 16, 2017 in Forage Foundations

Whether you like it or not, mobile devices are a part of our everyday lives.  Selecting the right mobile device can help custom harvesters manage their businesses efficiently.  During his Vita Plus Custom Harvester Meeting presentation, Terry Seubert, Vita Plus IT services development coordinator, outlined several important things to consider when buying a new mobile device.

Tools to Expand Your Forage Team – John Brantsen, Vita Plus

Posted on March 16, 2017 in Forage Foundations

When you’re facing tight harvest windows and a lot of fields to chop, putting up the highest quality forages is no small task.  As John Brantsen, Vita Plus dairy specialist, discussed during his session at the Vita Plus Custom Harvester Meeting, improving forage quality can significantly impact profitability.