After reviewing the 7-10 day weather forecast on Thursday we debated the options for the 4 paddocks that had been stepped over for conservation the previous week. It was decided that the likelihood of making good quality baleage was low and if left for another 7-10 days before mowing the regrowth will be very slow. The decision was made to pre-graze mow them and identify paddocks further down the wedge to step over for conservation.
Key Decisions this week:
• Growth rates are down across the district however with the rain in the forecast over the next 5-10 days, we don’t expect that they will stay low, especially considering all farmlets including the LI farmlets have received N this round.
• Overall, feed quality across the board has improved, with the amount of seedhead around reducing and leaf increasing as we have moved past the peak heading date.
58% of the farm has now been topped or mowed for baleage so we are seeing these paddocks holding their quality in this round.
• Pre-mowing will be done in front of the cows in several paddocks for all the herds over the next couple of days
o Pre-graze mowing and feeding will get them back into the round quicker as we won’t be waiting on contractors and weather
• All supplementary feed has now been removed from the diet apart from low BCS cows that are on OAD milking. For kale herds, this is a barley/PKE blend and for fodder beet herds is straight fodder beet.
• We will continue topping behind cows as required but hope that the need for this will decrease as we move into paddocks with fewer seedheads. There have been a couple of paddocks this week where we have topped too much green leaf to waste so we will be reassessing our pre-graze mass targets and making the necessary adjustments
• This week the bulls have been out with the cows and according to the collar data, x10 Std Kale, x9 LI Kale, x9 Std FB and x6 LI FB cows have been bull mated in the last week.
• Based on the collar data, the 3-week in calf rate is sitting at 62% for the whole herd with the range in the different farmlets being between 60-66%.
• Looking at the data from the previous 3 seasons, there has been in a significant improvement in 3-week submission rate across the farmlets. Interesting to note that the Std FB herd has consistently had the lowest submission rates in 1st, the 2nd and 3rd weeks across the last 3 seasons.
• Body condition scoring was completed this week and the whole herd has lifted in condition to a herd average of 4.5, with 19 cows being returned to TAD milking as a result of being at or above BCS 4 for 2 consecutive measurements.
• There was a significant unexplained reduction in the LI FB herd milk production this week from 1.7kgMS on Monday to 1.4kgMS/cow on Tuesday, however, they have bounced back from this now. The FB was removed from their diet around the same
time, however, the Std FB herd also finished their beet at the same time and we didn’t see an impact on their production.
• The additional selenium has been removed from the dosatron after consultation with the vets, however, the additional iodine will remain in the mix until the end of January.
o There are 12 calves still on milk and these will be weaned next week and go onto meal.
o 72 calves that were in the lighter weight range 3 weeks ago will be weighed and drenched with Turbo next week and will join the remaining 120 calves that are already over 120kgs.
o The bulls are being taken out of the heifers on the 21st of December.
o Selenium and Copper bolus’s will be given the same day as the farm team will be on the property drafting out the bulls.
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