Weekly Farm Summary

Farm-system impacts of: Kale vs Fodder beet for winter AND reducing N loss to water by 30%. 

 

Cows & Milk Analysis

Business Area Current Status
Feed Quality challenging with aftermath heading and cover is declining rapidly requiring increased supplementary feeding to 4-4.5 kg DM/cow/day. Growth about 50% of demand this week.
Milk Production Low pasture protein, and ME as typical “summer” pasture evolves in hot dry temps limiting production. Production drifting
People Team conquering the feeding complexity really well!
Animals Initial indications of Not-in-calf rate are promising. Herd BCS appearing to decline, so may revisit date for move to OAD.
Environment Nitrogen applied when rain window appears, Fingers crossed this week!
Wintering Crops progressing well, and purchased baleage for winter flowing in.
Research Planning for new trial is in full swing – Resolved farmlet areas and stocking rate, and proposing a different Nitrogen application strategy for Low N farmlets

Feed

Principles of Pasture Management this week

Pasture Quality Low pasture crude protein continues to be a headache, though paddocks more than 30 days post grazing has improved it ever so slightly. Dry conditions and browning off of pastures means the ability to generate high quality pasture is more limited by moisture, than management.
Growth rate Management Dry conditions and low soil moisture is significantly impacting growth. Some periods of rain have aided growth, but the deficit has increased. WIth declining daylight hours and lower pre-graze cover with increased supplement fed we will extend the rotation from 30 to 33 days.
Nitrogen Strategy Nitrogen following on standard herds this week, winter silage paddocks and support block.

Dairy Farm Paddocks that will receive N are paddocks that are yet to receive their 5th application and are able to be fertilised based on position in the wedge.
Standard
Kale
Pink
Low Impact
Kale
Blue
Standard
Fodder beet
Green
Low Impact
Fodder beet
Yellow
Quantity Growth 57% below demand Growth 50% below demand Growth 34% below demand Growth 53% below demand
Quality No long paddocks, drying pasture No long paddocks, drying pasture No long paddocks, drying pasture No long paddocks, drying pasture
Surplus Management None None None None
Deficit Management 4.5kg inshed (up 1.5kg from last week)
Baleage ~0.5kg/cow/day
4.0kg inshed (up 0.5kg from last week)
Baleage ~0.5kg/cow/day
4.0kg inshed (up 2kg from last week)
Baleage ~0.5kg/cow/day
4.0kg inshed (up 2.0kg from last week)
Baleage ~0.5kg/cow/day
Rotation Length Hold minimum 30 days Hold minimum 30 days Hold minimum 30 days Hold minimum 30 days

Milk Production

Principles of Milk production management this week

Milk Production Milk Production is still fluctuating across all 4 of the herds with t.

We are reviewing our process of moving whole herds to OAD as per previous seasons at the end of March, however given the weather this will be reassessed in 2 weeks once a number of culls have left the system and we get a more accurate understanding of what BCS is doing across all herds.
Key influences on milk production Pasture quality and proportion of pasture in the diet has had a direct impact on milk production this week.

The kale herds are currently out performing the fodderbeet herd, hwoever the kale herds supplement is made up of all in-shed high quality feed, compared to the FB herds getting a combination of PKE and silage in the paddock.
Cow Management Cow Management Rules:
1: Cows with BCS below 4.0 are on OAD but still in their herds
2: Based on age and calving date we are now managing BCS towards pre-calving targets. This will see cows at BCS 4.0 or even 4.5 needing OAD to ensure they hit 5.0 or 5.5 (Rising 3yr) at calving.
3: Any cull cows producing less than 5 litres per day will be identified and culled ASAP
Standard
Kale
Pink
Low Impact
Kale
Blue
Standard
Fodder beet
Green
Low Impact
Fodder beet
Yellow
kg Milksolids per cow this week / (last week) 1.65 / (1.67) 1.73 / (1.70) 1.58 / (1.50) 1.61 / (1.67)
kg Milksolids per ha this year / (this time last year) 945 / (961) 838 / (779) 883 / (921) 791 / (758)
Season to date compared to last year Down 1.7% total milk
Half paddock extra in grass this year affects KPI
Up 7.6% total milk
One paddock less in grass this year affects KPI
Down 4.1% total milk Up 4.4% total milk
One paddock less in grass this year affects KPI
Cows needing OAD BCS<4 (% herd) 33 cows (17%) 25 cows (17%) 37 cows (19%) 14 cows (8%)
Animal health peculiarities None None None None

WINTERING

Crop Wintering The fodderbeet and Swedes are in the warm weather, with full canopy closure in these crops. Very pleased with the yield and performance of Direct Drill and Strip Till beet this year compared to last year, though weeds in beet are a challenge again.
The buffer strips sown in italians are nearly ready for another cut. The kale at the support block did not establish well so was oversown in Rape in late January.
Baleage is currently being brought in from outside sources for the crop wintering systems
Grass and Baleage Wintering The paddocks for wintering sown in Italian Ryegrass are holding up remarkably well in the dry conditions, and due for Nitrogen this week before the promised weekend rain.
These paddocks plus the buffer strips will continue to be harvested into April and will be shut up with the aim to have these at 2200 come the start of winter.
Baleage is currently being brought in from outside sources for the grass and baleage wintering systems.
Farm system impacts: of Kale vs Fodder beet for winter AND Reducing N loss to water by 30%.
Kale, Winters on kale - in-shed feed available. Fodder beet, winters on Beet, Beet as lactation supp. Low impact (LI) limited Max 50kg N/ha/year vs Std 193kg N/ha/year

Farm-system impacts of: Kale vs Fodderbeet for winter
AND Reducing N loss to water by 30%.

NB: Hatched bars are 2021 new grass paddocks being managed on a faster rotation

NB: …….. target line is for 18 kg DM pasture allocation at current rotation and stocking rate for each herd; 

– – – – – target line is for 13 kg DM pasture allocation