• 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.

  • Future production success begins as early as the first day of a calf’s life. This is especially true when looking at the functionality of a calf’s immune system. Supplementing specific, functional fatty acids has proven beneficial to one-week-old calves’ immune systems, growth, and performance.

    When calves are born, their immune system is not fully developed and depends upon colostrum antibodies to develop immune function. The most recent USDA NAHMS survey has attributed the leading causes of calf loss to gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases.

  • 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.

  • Technology has changed the way dairies do business—from the apps that show market prices, to the automated technologies in the milking parlor – progressive farmers are always looking for new ways to advance their operations. And when it comes to analyzing forage, U.S. dairy farmers face a unique challenge. 

  • 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.

  • The most profitable dairies all have one thing in common – they are really good at getting milk components from cows. 

    They recognize the real value of milk lies in the fat and protein components and to get the best return on investment, they focus on feeding their cows for the most efficient component production, not just the highest milk production. In other words, they make sure every bite of the ration is working towards the right goal. 

  • 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.

  • Calf nutrition programs come in all shapes and sizes, and every calf raiser has unique goals. The best calf nutrition program is one that delivers the best results to meet your specific goals. 

    “We understand that calf raisers’ goals are not all the same. Regardless of your goals, it’s important to provide calves with the right nutrition at the right time, every time,” says Sara Sievert, director of commercial business development at Milk Products, manufacturer of Calf Solutions® products. “Calves can face a variety of unique challenges. Look to a flexible line of calf nutrition and health products to help your calves feel and perform their best while also meeting your business needs.”

  • Heat stress is the driving force behind the dreaded summer milk slump, costing up to $5.60 per cow per day in lost profit.  As your local weather forecast starts to heat up, follow these seven steps to help beat the summer heat. 

  • 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.

  • Your cattle’s milk production can plummet when heat and humidity rise. Depending upon cattle heat stress level, milk production can drop by 10-35%. That can equate to a loss of up to $4.55 per cow per day.  

  • 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.