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


Weekly Notes - 23rd September 2021

Key Decisions this week:

• All herds will move to 3 grazings per paddock (1.9 ha/day) for the majority of the paddocks

• If herds are not cleaning up paddocks the inshed feeding will be turned off for the afternoon if required with the aim of hitting residuals so that mobs don’t need to go back for a cleanup grazing as this takes time and creates extra walking increasing the risk of lameness.

• The LI FB herd have used significantly more baleage than was in their feed budget and has a limited supply remaining. Based on this their baleage will not be fed to colostrum cows when they are grazing in their paddocks.

• The final paddocks of the first round for all farmlets will receive their N application.

• Std herds will commence their second round of N applications once the first paddocks have been grazed

• We now only have 1 springer mob for all herds.

• The colostrum mob will do 5 feeds in the last springer paddock as the dries will not get through all that is left. They will be offered 60 m2/cow of fresh pasture but have access across the whole paddock to give more area to lie down on

• We are revising the spring feed budget based on finishing our first round a week earlier than planned and taking into account the pasture damage incurred during the wet weather earlier in the month. Last year our rotation length got too fast too early and it took a lot of supplements leading into Christmas to push back out. This year we propose to stay on the current rotation of 30 days for the next couple of weeks and will then drop down to 24-25 days.

• For the fodder beet herds we will lift enough beet to feed on average of 3 kg DM through October and 2 kg DM in November. Instead of storing all the lifted beet, we will spread it across two of the bunkers and also do a windrow in a paddock to increase the storage life.

• Two Std FB paddocks were badly pugged, one in autumn and one early in spring – we will broadcast seed onto these paddocks prior to the next grazing (hoof and tooth) then direct drill once conditions allow. Other smaller areas in paddocks will have seed broadcast prior to grazing as well.

• Baleage stocks for all herds are getting low so as soon as the weather settles the best quality paddocks at the support block will be made into baleage for the milking platform.

• In preparation for winter 2022 we are working through a plan for each of our springer and second-year crop paddocks. We have an opportunity next winter to trial a few different on-paddock wintering options as we will be between farm systems comparisons. If you have any ideas of things you would like us to try let us know.

• With the effluent pond rather full we will get the umbilical system in to spread effluent on paddocks outside our effluent infrastructure area.

General Summary

• In reassessing the spring feed budget we have summarised the supplements that have been fed vs what was predicted.

• All cows had a BCS assessment this week. We are starting to see a few lighter-conditioned cows across most lactating herds. These animals are assessed regularly and put on OAD milking.

• Milk production has bounced back since TAD milking resumed on Friday last week. The LI FB team drop on the 20th of September is an interesting story. Cows were grazing in a 2020 new grass paddock that had more than enough pasture, however, the cows just don’t like the paddock. Every time they grazed this paddock at the end of last season we observed the same result. Despite sufficient feed, the cows were observed standing at the gate wanting to be moved late morning!!

• For those who have visited the site over the winter you will be aware of the challenges we had with water ponding in the crop paddock by the dairy – the result of putting the dairy shed & laneways in a natural drainage channel!!. Remedial work started on it this week.

• The first of our 2021 crop paddocks was ploughed this week. We are concentrating on the paddocks coming out of the second-year crop so we can get pasture back in them as soon as possible.

• The first 45 calves have been adjusting to the cafeteria and outside this week and were moved to the support block today.

• We have space for 4 culls next week – 2 will be heifers that have dried themselves off and the other 2 will be the worst of the bad attitude cows identified last week.

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