Next Farm System Trial: Off Paddock Infrastructure v paddock-based wintering, and lower nutrient losses - Read the update HERE

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Weekly Summary - 20 September 2023

 4 seasons in a week sums up the last week well! From sunshine, to howling winds and crazy rain all in a matter of days, this week has had it all!Growth rates have continued to hold in the 40’s and there is still plenty of grass around as the end of the first round comes to a close in the next few days. All farmlets are requiring slightly different management this week as we navigate matching break sizes and area allocation with target intake. The green and blue wedges are starting to sho...

September 20, 2023

Weekly Summary - 13 September 2023

The end of calving is coming……. very slowly but surely this week, with a couple of days with 1 or 2 new calves on the ground. Having reached our heifer replacement number, we had the team from VetSouth in this week to disbud 180 calves while the farm team took the DNA samples. 40 are still to be done.Again this week we are fighting against high pasture covers at the top of the wedge and with good growth rates over the past week, the covers aren’t quite on the downward trend yet. Pasture qu...

September 13, 2023

October Field Day 2023 - SDH

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September 13, 2023

Weekly Summary - 6th September 2023

Grass and plenty of it around the farm this week. With soil temperatures hitting 10 degrees this week, growth continues to trend upwards. With the combination of this and the slower than predicted calving rates, APC is still challenging us and not reducing as quickly as we would like for this part of the season.  Balance date seems to have come early this year but then we are only in the first week of spring so things could still change!!?? Springers and dries will be used to tidy up behind...

September 6, 2023

Weekly Summary - 30 August 2023

Soil temperatures are on the rise and grass growth is strong. Cumulative rainfall season to date is 60 mm ahead of the same time last year. Calving at SDH continues to be slower than predicted which is compounding our average pasture cover challenges. With the cows now in their farmlet herds it is taking us up to 3 days to get through some of our high mass paddocks. Dries are being used to clean up where residuals are not being hit by the milkers. The temptation this week was to speed up our rot...

August 30, 2023

Weekly Summary- 23 August 2023

Hasnt it been great to see some this week . With nearly 60% of the herd calved we have had a few big days on the calving front - the biggest day seeing 29 calves arrive at the calf shed. All the herds have between 18 and 21% of their target 25% replacements already with another 2.5 weeks to get the remainder. Use of sexed semen for the first 2 weeks of mating last year has definitely helped with replacements on the ground early. Grass growth has continued to be strong so APC is still much higher...

August 24, 2023

Weekly Summary- 16th August

Twelve days into calving and we have 35% of the herd calved. Biggest single day today with 28 calves picked up this morning.Have kept a single milker herd to graze through some high mass paddocks but will split into baleage and fodder beet mobs on Friday and start twice a day milking on Saturday.First mob of calves are booked in for disbudding on the 30th August. Just working out options to get them outside earlier this year to reduce the pressure on the calf sheds and the risk (and cost) of rot...

August 16, 2023

Weekly Summary 9 August 2023

Today we separated milkers from colostrums and started collecting milk for our first pickup. This is two days later than last season, reflecting our delay to PSM last year. Cows are calving faster than estimated with 91 calved compared with 56 based on expected calving dates. The team are expecting some big days over the next week which we need as we are rapidly grazing through our springer paddocks!!Despite cold wet weather soil temperature is still sitting at 7.6 C and growth between 10 and 15...

August 10, 2023

Weekly Summary 2 August 2023

Now that we are back to weekly farm walks and calving has started we will be resuming weekly updates from the farm. Conditions for the farmwalk this week were not pleasant but the job got done thanks to our dedicated technical team .Our 2-day delay to planned start of calving last year has resulted in us only having 19 cows calved compared with 35 at the same time last year. However, we are expecting a big calf drop in the next week. Season to date we are ahead on rainfall compared with last yea...

August 4, 2023

Fortnightly Summary 27 July 2023

It is really starting to feel like spring 🍀 on the farm with 7 cows already in milk and 200 cows across three springer mobs. By next week we will be down to one mob of cows on fodder beet with the rest either in springer mobs or on baleage & grass. Body condition score is looking good with only 7 of the 735 animals on farm below BCS 5. The only major disappointment on the BCS front is that only up to 30% of the R3's are at BCS 5.5. Pasture growth has picked up over the last 2 we...

July 27, 2023

Fortnightly Summary 13th July 2023

And just like that, we are well and truely into the depths of winter! 🥶🥶Despite the cold and wet periods over the past 2 weeks, the cows continue to improve in BCS overall and are coming close to pre calving targets with a few weeks left until calves arrive. The team have also been out to weigh and bolus the R1s out at grazing and their weights are well in line with industry target for their age 🐄🐄Our crops continued to grow above and beyond any other year and are yielding between 28...

July 13, 2023

SDH June field day notes

It was great to see so many people at our Winter field day last week. The event doubled as a field trip for the SIDE Conference so we also welcomed attendees from outside the region. While the weather didnt allow a walk to the crop paddocks, a few hardy souls did brave the elements for a walk to the cowshed for a look around. For those who missed the event the handout is now available on the website. ...

July 3, 2023

June Field Day 2023 - Kale vs Fodder beet

Download our handout in the link below...

June 29, 2023

South Island Dairy Event (SIDE)

The South Island Diary Event (SIDE) is a two day conference for farmers, led by farmers.Visit the website HERE for more information ...

June 28, 2023

Weekly summary 24 May 2023

Weekly update 24 May 2023 (I know it is the 26th today but it has been a busy week so we are running a bit late summarising the data!!)What a phenominal autumn we are having for pasture growth!! We averaged 30 kg/DM/day for the last week - double what we had in the autumn feed budgets. While it would have been nice to milk on longer a number a things dictated our decision to dry off on the 25/26th as planned. The high APC has created some headaches, but we have a plan to get it down before all t...

May 24, 2023

Weekly Summary 17 May 2023

Weekly Update 17 May: With just over 1 week to go of the season, a number of things are keeping the team on their toes at the moment. The heifers are being utilised well on the platform and transitioning onto fodderbeet has started for them in the last few days. We are doing our best to get all milkers, dry cows and heifers eating the same level of fodderbeet before the end of next week to ensure the smoothest transition into winter possible. Checks are being undertaken on the water supply ...

May 17, 2023

Weekly Summary 10th May 2023

Weekly update 10 May: This weeks' cold snap will helping us get on top of our average pasture cover with herds being given fresh pasture mid afternoon rather than topping up with silage. The autumn feed budgets have been updated and with heifers back on platform from Sunday and minimising supplementary feeding to all herds for the next week we are on track to hit our dry off APC targets for all farmlets.Our shout out this week goes to the farm and tech team for getting all the heifers collared a...

May 11, 2023

Weekly summary 3 May 2023

Planning, planning, planning is the priority for us at SDH at the moment with lots of changes required across the farm prior to winter. As we moved to the new farmlet wedges for grazing this week our meeting focused on ensuring we had robust plans for achieving target pasture covers in our winter baleage, pre-springer, springer and colostrum paddocks and that everything was balanced across the new farmlets. Fodder beet lifted out of our transition zones will be used to transition milkers from mi...

May 3, 2023

Weekly Notes - 27 April 2023

Public holidays are playing havoc with our weekly scheduling of farmwalks & weekly meetings at the moment but next week we should be back to normal with posting of information.This week the SDH family held a farewell function for Louise as she counts down to her last day as GM on the 2nd May. She is definitely going to be missed by all involved at SDH.On farm we are concentrating on managing the run to the end of the season and to help with this have pulled together a calendar of events that...

April 27, 2023

Weekly Notes - 20 April 2023

While still in a strong feed situation, increasing lameness and the need to increase the rate of BCS gain to achieve our dry off targets we will move all herds to OAD milking today. At the same time we will lengthen the rotation by increasing inshed feeding and topping up with silage to meet intake targets.Paddocks are being sequentially dropped out of rotation so they can be set up for baleage wintering and springers. With the re-randomisation of paddocks for next season the wedges are starting...

April 20, 2023

Weekly Notes - 13 April 2023

Sorry we are a day late with the update this week. Farmwalk was done Wednesday to accomodate staff time off for Southland anniversary!.First mob of 22 cows dried off today and next group of culls scheduled for departure next Tuesday. Noticing a slight increase in lameness following the wet weather so will be assessing all herds carefully and will reduce milking frequency if required to minimise lameness risk. Still lots of high quality pasture around but with paddocks dropping out for wintering ...

April 13, 2023

Weekly Notes - 8 April 2023

Weekly update 6th April. Autumn pasture growth has gone crazy at SDH to the point where we have had to drop paddocks out for baleage to try and get our pre-graze mass and residuals under control. We have no levers to pull to increase demand at this stage of the season so will be focusing on managing supply through conservation and post graze mowing as required to tidy residuals. Paddocks for winter baleage are now being dropped out of the rotation and nitrogen fertiliser applications have fini...

April 8, 2023

Weekly Notes 28 March 2023

Weekly update 29 March. Well autumn has arrived with a vengeance this week with squally showers, hail and a frost!!! Despite this grass growth has been strong allowing us to increase the pasture allocation.Celebration time for the Pink herd this week who have just ticked over 1200 kg MS/ha for the seasonThree paddocks have been aerated with another 5 on the list when conditions and grazing align. The summer direct drilled new grasses are ready for their first nip off this week.Calves at the graz...

March 31, 2023

Weekly Notes - 22nd March 2023

Weekly notes 22nd March and autumn is shaping up OK so far. With another 48 mm rain this week, soil temperature at 16 C and N over 60% of the farm the grass is really starting to move. First paddocks scheduled for aeration this week with 8 earmarked for remediation if conditions allow. Herds are now settled on their faster rotation of 28-32 days with minimal inshed feed except to priority cows and no silage. Individual paddock plans for wintering are progressing well. Calves are being weighed an...

March 24, 2023

Weekly Notes - 16th March 2023

Another inch of rain over the weekend, pre-graze covers coming up, so supplements are coming out of the herds and we're dropping rotation length (39 to 30 days) to keep in-tune with pasture growth. Fodderbeet yields complete and two-thirds of the crop are at 19TDM/ha already! Adjusting baleage supply to those paddocks to ensure our beet/bale ratio is right. New tech Sam here doing the sampling, and a bit of maintenance gravelling gateways at the support block. Click the link below to downlo...

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