This week marks the start of measurements in the two paddocks in the Hedgehope-Makarewa Catchment crop establishment method pilot study. Cows will be on these paddocks for about a month so the tech team will be busy with soil measures and behaviour devices that have been put on 140 cows.
Key decisions this week
• measure the distance to the feeding face in each crop paddock so we can check our feed budget and slow the cows down through the kale paddocks by adding in more baleage if needed.
• Complete the re-transition of some of our fodder beet cows in the lame mob so they can re-join their winter mobs.
• There are x4 cows – x1 Std Kale, x2 Std FB and x1 LI FB that we have decided to keep off crop for the winter. They will be kept in a separate area and offered ad libitum baleage and 3 kg PKE/day.
• Return cows to paddock 15 and graze the drier areas of the paddock first. As the furthest fodder beet paddock from the dairy, we don’t want to be drafting cows off crop from here. They will most likely start at the back of the paddock rather than the middle as it will be difficult to open up the middle without over allocating crop given there will be two feed faces on the first day and it is a 26 T DM’ha crop. Any beet in wet areas that cannot be grazed will be lifted in spring for feeding milkers.
• The farm team are keen to split the daily allocation of fodder beet into two feeds to provide them with access to feed over a longer period of the day. There will be some logistics to work through to make sure the bales aren’t in the way of the first fence. The team will continue to measure out the daily break and will then just split this into two. This will ensure accuracy with daily allocation and decrease the chance of cumulative errors in break sizes.
• The R1’s on fodder beet have been increased to their full allocation after holding them at the same allocation for a few days on advice from the veterinarian after a case of clinical acidosis.
Early indications are that the Std farmlets grew approximately 2 T DM/ha more this season than the LI farmlets but there is a bit more data checking to do. Growth from all farmlets has increased this year relative to the previous 2 years.
Results from SDH research have been presented in three forums this week:
o SFF Sustainable Use of Fodder beet project team workshop
o Winter grazing action group (WGAG) meeting. The WGAG also visited SDH this morning
o ACE Future Farming Expo.
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