Weekly Farm Summary

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

Cows & Milk Analysis

Business Area Current Status
Feed Growth has finally kickstarted again this week, however with both soil and night-time temperatures dropping the growth window is likely to be short. The dry matter % in grass has dropped, good regrowth post grazing. Springer paddocks locked up.
Milk Production Production continues to be significantly driven by pasture quality. While DM intake is consistent between paddocks, energy will be fluctuating. For the first time in 3 months, milk production for the week has matched the same time last year.
People Covid continues to infect members of the team, however the team available have stepped up and are managing the feeding complexities well.
Animals Several mastitis cases presenting themselves across all herds at the moment. Suspect/high SCC cows to be removed and assessed further. The next batch of dry offs is likely to occur next week including low producers and very high SCC animals.
Environment Effluent applications continue for low quality paddocks in the Kale farmlets.
Wintering Second crop yields being completed over the coming week. Winter feed budget is being revised as we finalise the wintering plan for 2022.
Research Calibration cuts occurring this week to align plate meter data with visual estimates. Due to changing pasture conditions, realignment is necessary for APC, feed allocation etc.

Feed

Principles of Pasture Management this week

Feed Quality & Quantity Dry matter % in the pasture is dropping for all farmlets as growth improves and more leaf is present.

Lucerne & pasture baleage and inshed feed remains in the diet for all herds. The PKE component of the FB herds diet will be decreased by 0.5kgDM to allow for an additional 0.5kg of FB to be fed.

Target DM intake is 16.5 kg/cow/day for this week based on BCS trends and milk production.
Growth rate Management Both Standard herds have had a lift in APC this week, suggesting that their growth has been slightly higher than demand, which also aligns with a lift in the residuals for these farmlets. Supplements may be removed to maintain tidy residuals. APC is only just holding for the LI farmlets, however with less N in their system the slower response to rain and N is not unexpected. No culls off this week.

Grass grub continues to be an issue, with the worst paddocks being sprayed this week
Nitrogen Strategy Effluent continues to be applied to those paddocks in the Kale farmlets that have been deemed as low quality.
Standard
Kale
Pink
Low Impact
Kale
Blue
Standard
Fodder beet
Green
Low Impact
Fodder beet
Yellow
Quantity Growth 73% of demand Growth 82% of demand. Growth only 68% of demand Growth 63% of demand
Quality DM% is dropping, sitting between 20-25% DM% is dropping, sitting between 20-25% DM% is dropping, sitting between 20-25% DM% is dropping, sitting between 20-25%
Surplus Management None None None None
Deficit Management 3.0kg inshed
3.8kg DM baleage
3.0kg inshed
4.6kg DM baleage
1.8kg inshed
2.1 kg FB
3.9kg DM baleage
1.8kg inshed
2.1 kg FB
3.8 kg DM baleage
Rotation Length 44 Days 42 Days 44 Days 42 Days (only 33 days last week as grazed quicker through 2 poor pdks

Milk Production

Principles of Milk production management this week

Milk Production For the first time since January, the herd as a whole has matched last seasons production for the same week, however that has come at a cost in the form of imported supplements.

FEI average for both kale and FB herds is about 6.5
Key influences on milk production Production variation and in some cases the decline has been driven by pasture quailty in the paddock, with it being very evident this week in the Std Kale and LI Kale herds. The Std kale herds went through 4 days of new grass paddocks, whereas the LI kale herd had 4 days of low quaility paddocks. The cows seem to be energy limited due to pasture quality as DM allocation is consistent between paddocks.

All supplements continue to keep milk production where it is.
Cow Management Minimising mastitis and ensuring cows are being fed as best as possible are top priorities for cow management at the moment. High SCC, low producing cows will be identified following herd test next week and dried off.
Standard
Kale
Pink
Low Impact
Kale
Blue
Standard
Fodder beet
Green
Low Impact
Fodder beet
Yellow
kg Milksolids per cow this week / (last week) 1.43 / (1.40) 1.25 / (1.24) 1.32 / (1.35) 1.33 / (1.26)
kg Milksolids per ha this year / (this time last year) 1197 / (1240) 1036 / (1014) 1114 / (1187) 980 / (975)
Season to date compared to last year Down 3.5% total milk Up 2.2% total milk Down 6.2% total milk Up 0.5% total milk
Cows needing OAD BCS<4 (% herd) 41 cows (25% of herd) 29 cows (22%) 13 cows (8%) 21 cows (16%)
Animal health peculiarities None None None Mastitis spike

Wintering

Critical decisions being made now Pregnancy testing through milk screening will be completed on next weeks herd test to identify any cows that have dropped their pregnanies since scanning. With the cost of winter grazing, lack of baleage around and for some farmers crop yields being low due to the drought, its not viable to carry empty cows through winter.

Springer paddocks have been identified and will not be grazed again this season: While timing is not the greatest to be taking paddocks out of rotation while we are still tight for pasture it is critical that this seasons problems do not roll over into next season. By locking up the paddocks now, covers will be at an acceptable level come July 25th and the springers will not be disadvantaged.

Strategic dry off decisions: Declining daylight hours and cooler nights will reduce the likelihood of a big flush of pasture growth in the next couple of weeks. With autumn and winter feed budgets tight our strategies to manage feed demand to the end of season and set ourselves up for success next season include:

1. Continuing to dry off light BCS early calving cows

( BCS Dry off calculator: Body Condition Score strategies - DairyNZ on the DairyNZ website)

2. Drying off low producing, high BCS cows

3. Drying off lower producing, high SCC cows

4. Looking at all opportunities to get culls off the milking platform

Crop yields & winter feed budgets: Nicole and Tash, the DairyNZ farm techinicians will be completing the second crop yield measurements in the next week. This information will be used to update the winter feed budgets and allow us to determine whether our autumn management needs to be revised.




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 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 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 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 Fodder beet for winter
AND Reducing N loss to water by 30%.

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

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

Figure 1: The low impact fodder beet herd enjoying their winter baleage

Figure 2: SDH soil moisture profile for the last month

Figure 3: Monthly average growth rate for all herds compared to the 3 year average