Nitrates in your forages – beware!

Posted on September 10, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Michelle Der Bedrosian
Most producers would probably say 2019 has been a stressful cropping season.  Many of our crops have experienced their own kinds of stress – and this could result in dangerous conditions as we harvest and put up forages.

5 Things You Should Know About Prebiotics and Probiotics

Posted on August 21, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Jenn Rowntree, Vita Plus calf and heifer specialist
Both pre- and probiotics have shown the ability to resist invasion of harmful pathogens by preventing them from binding to cells in the GIT or binding directly to (and subsequently destroying) these invading pathogens. They can help improve the gastrointestinal tract environment for ingestion and digestion, thus increasing feed efficiency, and improve the overall immune system by regulating gut barrier function.  Most companies involved in animal health, reproduction, and nutrition have added a variety of prebiotic and/or probiotic products to their portfolios in recent years. Let’s explore some common questions about these feed additives.

Minimize milk fat depression in the heat of summer

Posted on August 1, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Barry Visser
Enhancing milk fat is beneficial to animal performance and farm profitability. Today, butterfat accounts for more than half of your milk check. Production goals are often based on combined milk fat and protein yields. Although the dog days of summer may not be an ideal time to improve milk fat, several factors may help you minimize your decline.

Estimate corn’s tasseling date

Posted on July 18, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Steve Murty, Vita Plus forage specialist
When should I make the call for fungicide application on my corn crop?  In this video, we learn an easy way to estimate when corn will tassel, which is also the best time to apply fungicide.  

4 ways to evaluate your corn plant stand

Posted on June 20, 2019 in Dairy Performance

Forage quality is one of the biggest ways to impact your farm’s nutrition program success and manage out-of-pocket expenses.  Many factors influence forage quantity and quality, starting with the seed and its first few days in the ground.  In this video, Dr. Michelle Der Bedrosian and Steve Murty with the Vita Plus forage team walk you through four steps to evaluate your corn plant stand.

7 steps to maximize income over feed costs

Posted on June 10, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Rod Martin
Evaluating feed costs is a double-edged sword.  Because it’s your largest expense, cost-cutting measures could be extremely significant in reducing cost of production.  On the other hand, milk production and components are the economic engine that drives cash flow.  Saving 20 cents per cow daily in feed costs while losing 50 cents in productivity is not a good economic tradeoff decision.  

5 summer calf ventilation checkpoints

Posted on May 30, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Ann Hoskins
If you haven't already, now is the time for routine maintenance on your calf facility ventilation system.  Good air quality goes a long way in promoting calf health.  Plus, an efficiently working ventilation system saves dollars on your bottom line.

3 ways to cope with high-mycotoxin feeds

Posted on April 1, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Eric Schwab
Mycotoxins are present in a wide range of livestock feeds. While the focus has been primarily on cereal grains, haylage and hay can also contain mycotoxins.  Grain byproducts, such as distiller’s grains and corn gluten feed, can have mycotoxin concentrations two to three times greater than the parent material as little mycotoxin destruction occurs during processing and concentration occurs in the byproduct stream.  Testing for mycotoxins should be considered when symptoms of toxicity exist among a large population of animals on your farm and cannot be readily explained.

Prevent the pain of frostbite for calves

Posted on February 6, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Jenn Rowntree
We're likely to see more bitter cold temperatures yet this winter.  Unless frostbite is caught and treated early, the results are often permanent and detrimental.  With limited treatment options, prevention of frostbite is the best strategy.

Safely warm newborn calves

Posted on January 3, 2019 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Noah Litherland
Every one of us in the dairy industry has an inborn fondness for cattle, and value newborn calves and the promise they bring. Let’s get wise about thermal support for our calves in the first 24 hours of their lives during cold weather.

Biosecurity and bovine tuberculosis

Posted on December 3, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Jenn Rowntree
Recently, a herd of cows in Dane County, Wisconsin recently tested positive for bovine tuberculosis (TB) and has been quarantined.  The herd will continue to be under quarantine while the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (WI DATCP) traces all cattle that have entered and exited the herd in the last five years.  This event provides a great opportunity to reiterate how important it is to practice proper biosecurity protocols.

Internal parasite control

Posted on October 26, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Barry Visser
Dairy cattle behavior and appearance often make it easy to detect external parasites like flies, mange and lice. Severe internal parasite infiltrations can result in roughness of hair coat, anemia, edema and diarrhea. However, the subclinical impact of internal parasites is largely hidden, yet costly. According to a recent study at Iowa State University, undetected subclinical disease caused by internal parasites can cost $190 per animal.

How to focus on farm efficiency

Posted on October 12, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Peter Coyne
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are defined as measurable values that demonstrate how effectively a business meets its objectives.  Identifying and tracking a few simple, yet critical, KPIs can prevent farm managers from becoming bogged down in analysis and losing sight of what’s important to their operations.

The good, bad and deadly of silo gases

Posted on September 17, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Michelle Der Bedrosian
As producers fill silos, bunkers or bags, I often get calls about gases coming off the silage.  During fermentation, many different gases are formed.  For the most past, this is very normal.  I expect gas formation to occur for roughly a week after a silo is sealed, although some silos can produce gas longer.  While some gases are harmless, others are deadly.  You can never be too cautious when it comes to silo gas.

Inoculants: Claims you can count on

Posted on August 22, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Jon Urness
Here in the land of wide open spaces and free markets, it’s fairly easy to put together a silage additive simply by choosing a few likely characters for bacteria, mixing them in a bottle, slapping on a label, and touting it as being well researched and proven – with little or no interference from regulators.

Wise investments in heifer raising

Posted on August 8, 2018 in Dairy Performance

By Cody Yanzick and Ann Hoskins
Calves are naturally herd animals, but, on many farms, the transition period is the first time they are grouped with others, bringing about a set of challenges that need specialized attention.  Limiting stress on calves can offer some of the greatest paybacks in terms of health and performance.