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.

Packing density: Choose equipment to get the job done

Posted on August 17, 2021 in Forage Foundations

By Becky Arnold, Lallemand Animal Nutrition
In the previous article in this series, we discussed the value of achieving at least 15 pounds of dry matter per cubic foot as well as managing the packing process to achieve adequate compaction.  In this article, we will discuss dual-wheel tractors, track tractors, and pull-type roller packers, and their effects on silage density.  

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.

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.

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. 

5 times to communicate deliberately

Posted on June 7, 2021 in Forage Foundations

By Peter Coyne, Vita Plus sales manager
Preparing your team to work together, to think as one, to understand the importance of safe and efficient work as they harvest, and to store exceptional feed requires deliberate planning and communication.  It is never safe to assume everyone is on the same page.

Forage inoculants: You get what you pay for

Posted on February 22, 2021 in Forage Foundations

By Dr. Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian, Vita Plus forage products and dairy technical services
Price will always be a consideration when purchasing a forage inoculant, but before you purchase a cheap inoculant, take a moment to understand the amount of research and money that goes into creating and marketing a viable forage inoculant.

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.

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.