Build your own colostrum thawing and heating unit

Posted on October 27, 2020 in Dairy Performance

Refrigerating or freezing excess high-quality colostrum (greater than 22% Brix reading) is a great way to ensure each newborn calf receives this vital nutrition at birth.  Because high temperatures can destroy immunoglobulins (IgGs) and other nutrients, colostrum should be carefully thawed and warmed before feeding it to the calf.  Producers can easily build their own colostrum thawing and heating unit to accomplish this task by following these simple steps.

Choose your best strategy for fat supplementation

Posted on October 16, 2020 in Dairy Performance

By Marin Western
No longer do we consider fat just fat.  Current research on fat supplementation to lactating dairy cows is focused on individual fatty acids. Recent studies at Michigan State University have especially highlighted the impacts of individual fatty acids and how we can better utilize the commercial products available to us in the industry.

Amino acid balancing: Benefits go beyond components

Posted on September 10, 2020 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Eric Schwab
The classically discussed benefits of amino acid balancing are typically increases in milk component yield, reduced metabolizable protein (MP) required, and increased efficiency of protein use. This focus is understandable as these benefits are the easiest to quantify economically.  However, recent research shows that these most tangible benefits are not the only reasons why amino acid nutrition should be adopted.

6 ways to get the most from your corn silage

Posted on August 17, 2020 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian
Much of the Midwest will be chopping corn silage in the next couple of weeks.  These six steps can help you put up high-quality feed while limiting your potential for shrink and spoilage.

2020 harvest: Go time is close!

Posted on August 6, 2020 in Dairy Performance

The 2020 corn crop looks good in much of the Midwest.  Vita Plus staff across the area provide a quick recap of this growing season and estimated corn silage harvest start dates.

VIDEO: When should you use an L. buchneri inoculant?

Posted on July 22, 2020 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian
Warmer temperatures create the perfect environment for spoilage in your forages. In this video, I explain how a forage inoculant with L. buchneri 40788 can help prevent spoilage, as well as the circumstances in which it's best not to use it. 

Any heat stress abatement is better than nothing

Posted on June 30, 2020 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Andy Kniesly
After just a few hot days, it is not uncommon to see milk production losses of 5 to 15 pounds of milk per cow day. That might be just the tip of the iceberg as heat stress can lead to a long list of other animal health and performance consequences. A lot of factors go into designing heat abatement systems for dairies, which require a solid understanding of your facilities and environment.  Here are some very common areas that we can focus on to help us prioritize where to start.

Grow heifers BEFORE calving

Posted on June 9, 2020 in Dairy Performance

By Barry Visser
The goal of most heifer replacement programs is to raise high-quality, healthy heifers in an efficient and economical manner.  Bodyweight of a heifer at the time of first calving is a proxy for growth and size. If heifers have not reached the desired size at calving, they will continue to grow during lactation. This is much less efficient and happens at the expense of milk production.

Serving customers & rural communities

Posted on May 15, 2020 in Dairy Performance

Vita Plus recently launched the Serving Customers & Rural Communities Project.  Through this project, Vita Plus has committed $100,000 to support rural food security initiatives throughout the Upper Midwest.  The purposes of the project are to assist those in rural communities during the COVID-19 pandemic while also showing support for dairy, swine, and beef producers by purchasing their products.  Click the link below to see the growing list of projects happening in communities across the Midwest.  We sincerely thank all the dairy and livestock farmers who work hard to provide nutritious, safe food for our families.  It's an honor to work with you.

Beware of nitrates this spring

Posted on March 25, 2020 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian
We often associate nitrate concerns with drought-stressed plants, but very wet conditions can also stress plants and cause them to accumulate nitrates.  Furthermore, high nitrate levels aren’t just a concern during the harvest season.  We are hearing reports of silages with higher-than-normal nitrate levels this spring.  Last year’s tough harvest season resulted in some crops going into the silo frozen, which means they did not ferment.  As the weather warms, they begin to “thaw” and undergo a fermentation, which also means there is risk for silo gas formation.  Please, be careful! 

Survey results: Optimizing robot IOFC

Posted on February 6, 2020 in Dairy Performance

By Eliza Ruzic and Pat Hoffman
As robotic milking systems continue to gain interest and adoption, dairy producers are looking at the economics associated with the technology.  Producers often ask us, “What truly influences milk production on a robotic dairy?  Do pellet characteristics influence visits and milk production?  Does the energy density of the partially mixed ration (PMR) affect milk production?”

Milk protein regains the crown

Posted on December 26, 2019 in Dairy Performance

While fat’s value has remained steady and worth capturing, starting in February 2019, protein values have taken off like Usain Bolt running the 100 meter. In fact, it has increased by 232% since February, or more than 20% per month - a pretty amazing performance.  The impact of this on recent milk checks has been a welcomed relief to dairy producers and the industry as a whole.

Farm profitability: Take a good look at these 6 numbers

Posted on December 9, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Marin Western
Today’s dairy producers have a wealth of data at their fingertips. Details for health, reproduction, feedings and inventories just scratch the surface of the numbers that can be generated from farm data. One of the biggest challenges is what to do with all this information.  A study by Compeer Financial and Zoetis identified six factors that account for 85% of the variation in farm profitability.

Video: Harvest for high moisture corn

Posted on November 2, 2019 in Dairy Performance

The challenging weather conditions of 2019 will likely result in more high-moisture corn harvested and stored this year.  Stephanie Jens, Lallemand Animal Nutrition, joins Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian, Vita Plus, to offer a few tips for harvesting and storing this high-value feed, including choosing the right inoculant, keeping inoculant lines from freezing, and grinding the corn to optimize starch digestibility.

Video: Safety first and ALWAYS

Posted on October 22, 2019 in Dairy Performance

The most important thing you will do today is make it back safely to your family or friends tonight. Safety is a value at Vita Plus and we remind all our customers, staff, and industry partners to be safe during forage harvest and throughout the year.  In this video, Stephanie Jens, Lallemand Animal Nutrition, joins Michelle Chang-Der Bedrosian, Vita Plus, to offer a few safety tips to follow when working around forage bunkers and piles.

Unique nutrition for Jersey nursery calves

Posted on September 25, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Noah Litherland
One key goal of the nursery calf program is to provide an appropriate plane of nutrition (not too high or too low) at the beginning of the nursery phase. Intake amount governs delivery of nutrients, alters rate of passage and impacts microbial communities throughout the gastrointestinal tract.