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

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Weekly Notes - 14th October 2021

We had some super interesting topics and guest speakers at our field day event this week including Angela Reid, a dairy farmer in Five Rivers, talking about reducing N fertiliser on her farm and maintaining production and performance; Brendan Malcolm discussing catch-crops for cleaner water trial underway at SDH, and of course Dr Dawn Dalley and Louise Cook who spoke through our spring update, lower impact farm systems results from the last 3 seasons, future farms systems research, and the Community of Practise participatory research project.

Key Decisions:

• Our decision-making to go 10n7, stay on a 30-day round, warmer weather and apply N fertiliser post-grazing last week have all contributed to better looking feed wedges across all the farmlets. Pre-graze mass is now closer to 3000 kg DM/ha rather than 2400-2600 kg DM two weeks ago. We feel in a much more comfortable position and are now much closer to balance date. Based on this we made the decision to return to twice-a-day milking.

• Current pasture demand across the farmlets is around 50kg DM/ha/d based on current levels of supplementary feed.

• We will continue to stay on a 28-30-day round, though this may be faster at times as we implement 2 grazings vs. 3 grazings in some paddocks.

• We expect pasture utilisation to be challenged over the next 7 days as the weather continues to be wet. We have sufficient supplements on hand to keep cows well fed but will be looking to reduce the amount of baleage being offered as soon as possible and concentrate on feeding fodder beet to the beet herds and inshed feeding to the kales.

• Springer paddocks have been subsoiled so are now out of the grazing round, the result of which is an increase in the effective SR of the farmlets. Based on the available area and cows on the farm the effective stocking rates are 3.4/3.5 for the Std herds and 3.0 for the LI farmlets.

• We have drafted our wintering plan for 2022 and are putting together our detailed paddock plans ahead of the spraying contractor coming in.

• N fertiliser will continue to follow the Std cows and we are looking into pricing regarding applying some of our maintenance fertiliser via helicopter, particularly to paddocks with wet areas in them.

• We’ve had a spike in mastitis this week with 10 cases being picked up. We are getting the shed checked and a milking monitored to ensure there are no issues around cup alignment or setup as we have noticed the infections are all occurring in the back quarters.

Click the link below to download our full weekly notes