Brendon Blank joins ANC as Dairy Consultant

Brendon Blank of Ixonia, Wis. has joined Agri-Nutrition Consulting (ANC) as a Dairy Consultant in March 2015. Brendon grew up on a dairy farm in Ixonia, Wis. and is still actively involved in his family’s farm.  Growing up, he was very active in 4-H and showing cattle.  He then attended UW-Stevens Point and graduated with a major in soil science. Working with the USDA-NRCS for 8 years, Brendon has had a lot of experience helping farmers solve problems on their farms, such as erosion, runoff, and manure storage.  Brendon has 9 years of experience as a seed salesman for a company that focused on top quality forage, which taught him a lot about feeding cattle. Brendon is always looking for learning opportunities about forage management and how to deliver the highest quality ration possible. ANC is a full-service dairy and livestock nutrition consulting company that strives to go beyond nutrition through innovative solutions.  ANC’s consultants are supported with a network of nutritionists, ration analysts, and technical service specialists to provide a more complete program for farmers. To contact Brendon and learn more about his services with ANC, contact brendonblank@gmail.com or (920) 285-4640....

Accurate cow descriptions fine-tune rations for improved performance

The dairy cow’s ability to produce more milk is dependent on the quality of the ration and how much she consumes of it. We have made great strides in improving forage quality, ration formulation and cow comfort. Ration modeling programs (CNCPS) use information from multiple sources to predict cow performance. Improvements in these programs make it imperative that we have accurate inputs to get our expected predictions. However, one of the most obvious and overlooked is the cow itself and her environment. Dry matter intake and rate of passage are calculated based on the cow’s body weight and milk production. Forage quality also impacts these numbers, but forage laboratories provide us with accurate evaluations of their contribution. Most of us are guilty of using default body weights for all groups of dairy cattle. However, correct weights will lead to more accurate production predictions (milk and/or growth). This can impact ration formulation. The amount of starch needed in a ration may change due to rate of passage differences. This may allow us to confidently fine tune a ration with lower MUN levels. The stage of lactation also affects intake. Are we describing our pens of cows correctly? Fresh pens can change dramatically in days in milk and production. Body weight loss can be used to predict energy needs of these cows.   Up-to-date days in milk, milk weights, and body condition scores in all pens allow our ration programs to assist us in producing the correct ration. Even a one-group TMR herd will still benefit from an accurate description of the herd. Air temperature, wind speed, lot conditions, and walking distance will...

Anne Proctor, PhD Joins Agri-Nutrition Consulting as Dairy Technical Specialist

Agri-Nutrition Consulting, LLC (ANC) hired Anne Proctor, PhD of Junction City, Wis. as a Dairy Technical Specialist in March 2015. In this position, Anne will use her observation skills to draw out strengths and opportunities that she sees on-farm and will implement ways to deliver success for the farmer and ANC Consultants. Anne grew up on a farm in the heart of Vermont’s dairy industry.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the University of Vermont, her Master’s degree from the University of Delaware in animal science, researching silage additives, and her PhD with David Combs in dairy science at the University of Wisconsin, studying feed intake regulation in dairy cattle.  Before joining ANC, she worked for five years with Purina Mills in Colorado, western Kansas, and Wisconsin as a PhD consultant, and for Customer One and Heartland Cooperative in central Wisconsin for six years. Anne currently lives near Junction City, Wis. with her husband, John.  They have two children, Paige and Nicholas.  Anne raises registered Scottish Highland beef cattle which she shows nationally, and sells breeding stock.  She is also on the board of directors for AHCA (American Highland Cattle Association). Anne enjoys helping dairy farmers be successful by listening to their needs and finding solutions that fit their goals.  She also knows it’s important to meet the cow’s needs as well, by focusing on cow comfort, environment, social dynamics, and behavior. “We are pleased and excited that Dr. Anne Proctor has joined our professional team at Agri Nutrition Consulting,” said Jay Hoffman, Midwest Divisional Manager for Agri Nutrition Consulting. “Anne brings with her a great deal of...

Protecting your Shredlage investment

One of the issues that have increasingly concerned producers in recent years has been how to cost-effectively supply their cows with adequate amounts of effective fiber. Mechanically disrupted corn silage, such as Shredlage® Brand Silage, is one option that has attracted considerable interest. Shredlage LLC based in Tea, S.D., developed the Shredlage processor, which allows a longer chop length to be set and tears, or shreds, the  stalks and leaves, while efficiently crushing kernels. “Corn silage produced using a Shredlage processor has a greater proportion of longer stalk and leaf material,” says Bob Charley, Ph.D., Forage Products Manager, Lallemand Animal Nutrition. “When used in rations for lactating dairy cows, this can increase the physically effective neutral detergent fiber (peNDF) content of the ration, which is important for proper rumen function, and can be used to reduce the demand for bought-in hay or straw.” In addition, a feeding trial at the University of Wisconsin — Madison showed that dairy cows fed Shredlage tended to produce 3.5% more fat-corrected milk compared to cows fed conventionally processed corn silage. However, the added benefits in higher peNDF and milk production must be protected with careful ensiling. No large scale studies to date have specifically addressed preservation and feedout stability, but some producers have asked if there might be specific ensiling challenges resulting from the more open structure of the material ensiled, Charley says. “One question being asked is how well this type of material is going to preserve,” he says. “The more open structure may trap more air, resulting in a slower upfront fermentation. This open structure could also allow air to come back...