Want success? Take care of your people

Posted on October 16, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Peter Coyne
Employees are the most valuable asset on a dairy farm and managing those employees well is the true key to success on a farm. 

Making the Old Barn New Again – Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus

Posted on October 2, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator
Before you decide to turn that old dairy barn into a calf barn, you should do some research.  An old barn may provide more warmth and protection from the elements for calves and caretakers.  But consider calf flow, ventilation, sanitation, ease of feeding, and the overall health benefits and risks before you begin renovations.

Choose your ketosis monitoring tool

Posted on August 31, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Zach Sawall
In early lactation, cows enter negative energy balance.  This comes from increased energy demands for milk production, which can’t be met from dry matter (DM) intake.  If cows can’t adjust to this negative energy balance, excess body reserves are mobilized, leading to higher counts of nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) and ketones, specifically beta-hydroxy butyrate (BHBA).

Do you know your forage and feed?

Posted on August 23, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Brittany Gevelinger & Richard Mensendike
Quality forages...where sound nutrition starts. 

Analyzing forage and feed samples will give you an accurate picture of their quality, and help you make management decisions to optimize your herd's nutrition.  The more representative your sample, the more accurate your analysis. 

3 things a fresh cow wants

Posted on July 28, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Stacy Nichols
A fresh cow pen should provide cows with a clean, comfortable environment to recover from calving and minimize the social stress they experience when being moved into new groups.  The primary goal of a fresh group must be to minimize health events to allow cows to reach their production potential.

Forage storage: Begin with the end in mind

Posted on July 19, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Bryan Knoper
Do you know the value of your stored forages? 

At the farm level, it is worth more than the cost to build another freestall barn.  At the cow level, it is realized in the fluctuation of her milk production when you switch forages.

Top 10 factors limiting nursery calf group feeding systems

Posted on July 5, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Noah Litherland, Vita Plus dairy youngstock technical specialist
Automated calf feeding systems continue to increase in popularity throughout the upper Midwest despite little uniformity in facility design, feeding method, and performance across farms and no industry-wide accepted model to balance facility performance and cost. 

Evaluate repro program with these 4 questions

Posted on June 12, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Andy Kniesly
Reproductive performance on dairies is one of many key areas that can have a huge impact on profitability. It is no surprise dairy farmers continue to look for ways to improve reproduction programs.

Set the expectations millennial employees crave

Posted on May 23, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Bob Hagenow
The workforce is currently made of three different generations:

  • Baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964)
  • Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000)
  • Generation X (those born between these two generations)

Each of these generations approaches work and is motivated differently based on the life experiences that shaped them.

The rumen’s busy bugs

Posted on May 9, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Mat Faulkner
One of the amazing things about ruminant animals is their ability to turn feedstuffs with little or no nutritional value into nutritional products.  Ruminants accomplish this through a mixture of rumen microorganisms that convert feedstuffs into energy and protein sources to be used by the host animal.

Essentially, when you feed the cow, you are really feeding the rumen microorganisms.  What you feed them will affect the balance of these organisms and, subsequently, the function of the rumen.

Robots and feed

Posted on April 24, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Laura Zagorski
As the trend of automation continues to rise in the dairy industry, so does the popularity and interest in robotic milking systems. Robotic milking systems can provide new opportunities in herd management.

Heat abatement up to par?

Posted on April 17, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Darin Bremmer
Heat stress can start to impact high-producing cows once the temperature reaches above 65 degrees F.  With warmer temperatures on the horizon, now is the perfect time to assess your heat abatement strategies and make any necessary changes to avoid substantial economic impacts.

Involve these 3 people in farm transfer

Posted on April 3, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Gary Sipiorski
Transferring a dairy farm to the next generation can be complicated.  No one wants to make it difficult, but the process involves many details.  Written terms and agreements must be done properly. 

Calf program checklist: Fly control

Posted on March 24, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus calf products coordinator
As spring begins, it’s time to put your fly control plan into action. The key to good fly control is getting ahead of them and staying vigilant throughout the season.

What do we do with low-moisture corn silage?

Posted on February 20, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Dr. Darin Bremmer
We knew fields were wetter than normal heading into fall harvest, but we didn’t expect the season’s heavy rains.

Corn also matured quicker this year, resulting in drier-than-normal corn silage.  It dried even more as farmers waited out the rain to get back in the field.  To properly harvest and feed this dry corn silage, it came down to adjusting the basics, including kernel processing, chopping height, packing, and good fermentation.

Goofy winter could mean winterkill

Posted on February 8, 2017 in Dairy Performance

By Jon Urness
I don’t think any of us are big fans of this year’s up-and-down winter weather conditions.  Unfortunately, our alfalfa fields might not be big fans of it either.  Wet fields in the fall, followed by big temperature fluctuations, ice and a diminished snow cover could lead to alfalfa winterkill.