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  • Amino acids are the building blocks that make up protein, and the actual nutrients that calves require. However, dairy calf nutrition is behind the curve with respect to embracing precise diet formulation by balancing for these key nutrients. Today, most milk replacers for calves are formulated and scrutinized based only on crude protein (CP) content, a number that doesn’t give us any real measure of the true building blocks the calves need: the amino acids.

  • The best investments you can make on your dairy often pay dividends in higher yields and intakes, less waste, healthier animals, and, ultimately, greater convenience, efficiency, and profits.  

    That’s why it’s critical to invest in the right inoculant from the start.  This article will explain the basic types of inoculants, which crops to use them on, and, finally, how to make specific choices based on the dozens of products competing for your inoculant investment dollars.

  • When it comes to balancing diets for amino acids, the dairy industry is in its infancy. Research, combined with more refined nutrition models, has helped identify some amino acids as limiting. But additional work is needed to evaluate more individual AAs and to better understand the role they play.

  • Give whole milk a boost to give calves the balanced nutrition they need.

    Milk: It’s “nature’s most perfect food,” or at least that’s what we’ve been told as long as humans have been feeding domesticated dairy calves.

  • When the acres of pasture, grass hay, alfalfa, corn and sorgum silages, and grazing wheat in the plains are all added up, forages account for by far the most acreage of any US crop. In fact, land used for grazing is over 780 million acres – equal to 40% of the entire land area of the US and nearly double the land used for other crops of all types. Add to that the 61 million acres of alfalfa, 15 million for corn and sorghum silages, then add in the grass hays and others, and you can see that forages comprise the vast majority of US cropland. And yet, it could be said that forages continue to be neglected when it comes to fertilization.

  • Water quality can affect land and cattle productivity. Let’s face it, cattle are naturals at drinking as long as there is a water source and access. What else is there to think about?

    The importance of water deserves the time and attention of cattle producers. Cattle simply cannot be healthy and gain well without good quality water. What’s more, ensuring pastures have a high-quality, sustainable and uncontaminated water source is a key component to environmental stewardship.

  • Spring is just around the corner, which means field work will begin soon and we’ll be cutting first-crop alfalfa in no time. It’s amazing how much work can get done in such a short amount of time, but one process that should receive adequate time is silage packing.

    In recent packing density analyses, completed by Vita Plus consultants in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio, roughly 25 percent of the corn silage bunkers surveyed had a packing density of less than 15.5 pounds per cubic foot. A density of 15 pounds per cubic foot has been the industry minimum for a while now and, as packing density decreases, you risk dry matter (DM) losses and losing more money. Let’s take a closer look at that financial impact.

  • Calf Solutions, in connection with Zinpro, introduces Premolac® PLUS colostrum replacer for dairy calves. With 152.4 grams of immunoglobulins (IgG), this new product is the highest concentration of IgG per gram of powder compared to other USDA-licensed colostrum replacer powder products for aiding in the treatment of failure of passive transfer.

  • Almost every dairy producer has questioned whether it makes sense to hire a custom harvester or complete harvest themselves. Some have done in-depth analyses of the two strategies by considering different financial variables, such as cost of ownership, labor, depreciation, interest, repairs and how their balance sheet would be affected. However, all of that is often thrown out the window in favor of one very tangible and a few intangible considerations.

  • Last year, overall harvested forage acres were significantly reduced throughout the Midwest, according to Progressive Forage, leaving forage inventories lower than usual in 2018. As we look to this year’s alfalfa harvest, it may be more critical than ever to do the little things right to ensure you harvest as much dry matter (DM) per acre as possible.

  • With 50 percent of dairy production costs tied into feed, conventional wisdom dictates that many dairy operators would look for ways to drive down those costs without sacrificing production — and feed management software accomplishes that.

    When used consistently and effectively, however, it can also drive up production while maintaining or increasing feed costs to create a greater net positive increase/return on investment. It accomplishes this by more closely monitoring/tracking feed use, animal intakes, mixing ratios and chemistries, waste, optimizing pen feeding, and tracking/examining income in relation to feed price.

  • We wax poetic about dairy farming – it’s among the most iconic images of life in North America.

    But let’s not kid ourselves: it is a business. Complex. Unlike other businesses, it’s a 24-hour-a-day exercise in precision and intelligence. Technology solutions have become commonplace to help identify and control those variables, but the “intelligence” from these solutions is often not able to drive a corresponding reaction until hours or days later. And the person collecting the data often has to interpret the data on their own by comparing numerous different spreadsheets.

  • Nutritionists and dairy specialists at Provimi North America started using a new bulk tank test to troubleshoot herds that have low milk fat. The technology being used is the analysis of milk fatty acids in bulk tank samples and was developed in a collaborative work between Cornell University and Miner Institute. Combined with other technologies such as analysis of fatty acids in feeds, the fatty acids in milk can help suggest adjustments to the ration and herd management.