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Weekly Farm Summary 15 May 2024

Well all good things must come to an end and the time is near for us calling a day on the 2023_24 season. While overall it has been a good season for us, this autumn is bringing its fair share of challenges - sodden ground conditions, increased lameness and average growth rates have made this autumn quite different to the last two. With heifers now back on the milking platform after teat sealing on Thursday our challenge is to manage the feed supply to ensure we don't go below our 1 June APC for...

May 18, 2024

Dry-off newsletter

Things are busy on farm as we set up for our farm system trial (more details in the newsletter), dry cows off that are light in condition and trying to manage body conditions score to ensure cows are target at calving, not to mention all the things that need to be done in preparation for winter.The weather has turned, with a drop in ground temperature by 10 degrees and we only grew 23 kgDM/ha this week, compared to 40 kgDM/ha last week! Because of this and paddock conditions, we have moved all h...

May 10, 2024

Weekly Farm Summary 30 April 2024

This week we made the decision to move all herds to OAD milking based on current milk production, BCS, ground conditions and lameness and to make sure the farm team have the time to ensure everything is set up for wintering. Our second group of cows were dried off and the early dries are now being ad lib fed on pasture to promote BCS gain. The latest pasture quality results are in and the DM has ranged between 14 and 18%, ME from 11.1 to 12.3 and crude protein from 22.1 to 28.5%. The LI pastures...

May 3, 2024

Weekly Farm Summary 17 April 2024

Key decisions this week have focused on setting the cows and the farm up for next season. Cows confirmed with Johnes (initial milk screening followed by a confirmation blood test) and Staph have all been culled and the last discretionary culls confirmed for each herd. The first group of 20 cows were dried off this week. The rotation length has been pushed out by reducing the area grazed per day however with paddocks being dropped out of the round for wintering and springers the proportion of eff...

April 19, 2024

Weekly Farm Summary 3 April 2024

And just like that it is April and autumn is well and truely upon us with cooler nights and shorter days. Our focus is now well and truly on setting up for next season and as such we made the decision this week for the Std FB herd to go to OAD milking based on BCS gain required before 1 June, increasing incidence of lameness and the feed budget indicating up to 6 kg DM supplement/cow/day would be required to achieve our dry off average pasture cover. We are continuing to aerate 2022 spring new g...

April 5, 2024

Weekly Farm Summary 20 March 2024

After a busy week on farm last week with our autumn field day and motor bike training and a trip to Victoria Australia for Dawn to present at a farmer event, we are back to normality this week. Growth has dropped below demand for the first time in several months, so average pasture cover has dropped for all farmlets. The first group of culls will be heading off farm in the next week with low producing empties going to the works and sound, young, high producing empties being sold in milk. We have...

March 21, 2024

Weekly Farm Summary 6 March 2024

The final scan was done on Wednesday morning so we are still working through what the different results between the farmlets mean. This week we started yielding our fodder beet crops. Each year we start doing monthly yields from March so we can track progress against our winter feed budget. JJ was out earlier in the week and noticed quite a lot of yellowing of the leaves so crops will be sprayed with a fungicide when the weather allows. Hope many of you can join us on site next week 12th March f...

March 10, 2024

Autumn Newsletter

The weather has certainly provided challenges with managing grass quality and finding the weather windows to cut surplus feed. Like many farmers we have made more baleage than normal this summer, which has set us up well for ending out the season and for the winter. We will use this surplus in the coming weeks before it gets too wet and reduce the feed going through the shed. This winter we will be looking to see how we can improve the profitability of fodder beet winter grazing while maint...

March 7, 2024

Weekly Farm Summary 28 February 2024

This week we hosted farmers, researchers and managers from Dairy Trust Taranaki, Northland Dairy Development Trust - NDDT and Northland Agricultural Research Farm. Was great to reconnect and continue discussions on how we can work together and extract more value from research across the regions. They were very jealous of the lush green grass our cows are eating at the moment!!The R2's were weighed this week at the same time as the final scan - 2% empty plus 2 freemartins identified. Next step is...

March 2, 2024

Weekly Farm Summary 21 February 2024

This week the stars aligned and we finally got our spring silage pit filled.The weather has really been against us getting this off earlier. As a result of the delay, we have ended up with a bigger stack than we anticipated but it is money in the bank if we have a wet spring next season.The latest pasture samples have come back with DM% from 15-18% so more like spring than late summer pastures. The calibration cut data and cow behaviour is indicating there is approximately 200 kg DM/ha less avai...

February 23, 2024

Weekly Farm Summary 14 February 2024

Hopefully some of you have managed to catch up with Andrea at the SDH and DairyNZ site 89/90 at the Southern Field Days - Waimumu this week. She is there again today for anyone who is heading out that way. With a number of new staff joining SDH in recent months the team are taking the opportunity for some upskilling. This week the farm team completed Hazardous substance training with Ant Sutherland. A key learning for all of them was the importance of identifying the correct PPE required from a ...

February 16, 2024

Weekly Farm Summary - 7 February 2024

Well, who would have thought we would be in our current feed situation given the earlier predictions of a hot dry summer, not that we are complaining.Like many we are struggling to get a decent weather window to get silage and baleage made, which is likely to impact on the quality of the final product. We will be taking quality samples from different batches of supplement and allocating the appropriate quality for different livestock classes and feeding time. We have abandoned our plan of making...

February 9, 2024

Weekly Farm Summary - 31 January 2024

This week we got the first indication of how well our mating has gone for this season with the first scan of the cows. Six week in calf rate across the whole farm averaged 77% with the range between farmlets from 74 to 82%. We will do an indepth review of mating and differences between treatments once we have the final in calf rate. Another week of strong pasture growth has seen us drop the inshed feeding back to a minimum and step over paddocks at the top of all the wedges so we can get herds g...

February 2, 2024

Weekly Farm Summary - 24 January 2024

Good soil temperatures and adequate soil moisture has seen strong growth across the farm again this week. Grazing of the new grass paddocks has been a bit challenging due to the rain and our desire not to damage them on their first grazing, but we now only have a couple left to graze. Interestingly we have seen a jump in milk urea when the cows have been grazing these paddocks. The tech team are busy taking pasture samples from every paddock before it is grazed and separating it into ryegrass, o...

January 26, 2024

Weekly Farm Summary - 17 January 2024

This week the team have been busy moving the recently made baleage out of the paddocks, replaced all the rubberwear in the plant and pregnancy tested the 2022 born heifers at grazing.Good soil temperatures and moisture are making pastures grow well which enables us to reduce the supplements being used.  Grazing of the new grasses has been a priority so we can now have them back in the round.   It appears that we are getting on top of the lameness that has been an issue over the la...

January 18, 2024

Weekly Farm Summary 10 January 2024

The start of the 2024 year sees us with a full farm and technical team for the first time in over 6 months, so everyone is pretty excited with what lies ahead. As Billy takes a month off to spend with an eagerly anticipated new addition to their family Venura and Ravee are stepping into the decision-making roles. On the feed front we have been able to signicantly reduce the amount of supplementary feed to all the herds and we are strategically topping a few paddocks to either reset residuals or ...

January 12, 2024

Weekly Farm Summary 20 December 2023

With the countdown on to Christmas we spent extra time this week working through the feeding regimes for each herd for the next couple of weeks to make things are as streamlined as possible for those on farm. With the dry starting to bite and us getting through our contracted inshed feed we have recalculated the amount of silage remaining in our two stacks and have made a plan for inshed feed use as well. We will continue with weekly farm walks through the holiday period, just at a slightly diff...

December 21, 2023

Merry Christmas from Southern Dairy Hub 🎄

Thank you to everyone for their support of the Southern Dairy Hub in a year where we celebrated our five-year anniversary in June. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the support and generosity of our sponsors and the farming community. Whether it was sponsorship, attendance at the field days or just taking an interest in the things that we do at the Hub and using the research to improve productivity we thank you. ...

December 19, 2023

Weekly Farm Summary 13 December 2023

The weather is definitely keeping us on our toes with feed planning and management at the moment. It is hard to believe that a hot dry summer is in the forecast with what is being thrown at us at the moment. However, in saying that the tech team noted that things are definitely drying out across the farm when they did the farm walk this week (while trying to dodge the rain squalls and strong winds!!!Our priority is getting all the necessary silage and baleage finalised for winter to avoid the si...

December 16, 2023

Weekly Farm Summary 6 December 2023

Hard to believe it is December already and the countdown is on to the festive season. This week we welcomed Redson to the SDH farm team as a herd manager. It will be great to have an extra pair of hands over the holiday season so the team can all have some time off to spend with family and friends. There has been lots of activity on farm getting a few areas tidied up now that all the calves are weaned and mating has slowed down. We have been focusing on our summer, autumn and winter feed budgets...

December 8, 2023

Andrea Dixon chats to Andy about the newsletter, the upcoming field day and the projects currently underway.

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December 5, 2023

Weekly Farm Summary 29 November 2023

There have been a few milestones this week:1. the first herd hit 100% submission rate2. all our spring ground-work has been completed (just before we rolled into summer!!)3. we have finalised the plan for broadcasting plantain seed onto 2x Standard and 2x LI farmlet paddocks, now we just need to implement the plan4. our summer student started 5. the last calves were weanedOn a not so positive note, we got caught out with the and didnt get all our baleage made as planned last weekend. The bales ...

December 1, 2023

Weekly Farm Summary - 22 November 2023

Weekly summary 22 November 2023: What a week for weather extremes - hot and sunny one day, squally showers, cold and wet the next! No wonder growth rate is all over the place!! Topping and strategic baleage making over the last month means pasture quality across the farm is good with only a few paddocks left to tidy up.We have just ticked over 3 weeks of mating and are pleased with the submission rates. Looking at the number of cows sound asleep in the paddocks today I think they have been party...

November 24, 2023

Summer Newsletter

I’m four months into my new role and I’m loving it. It’s really busy – but in a good way. We’re set up for a good season with grass growth and we’re making gains in production.Cultivation has gone well and Fodder Beet went in last week. We’re busy testing the quality of the grass (ME and crude protein) we’re looking to purchase for baleage as we need to make sure the quality of the baleage that goes into the system is top notch. Staffing and recruitment is a challenge, much ...

November 20, 2023

Weekly Farm Summary - 15 November 2023

Things have been a bit quieter on farm this week with the priority being on fine tuning the pasture allocation, getting the baleage made and picking cows for AI. Last Friday we farewelled Tolu who has chosen a career change to allow him to spend more time with his family. We have had a new relief milker start who is getting up to speed with our milking regimes and are looking forward to our new permanent staff coming on board. The team are working together really well to ensure everything gets d...

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